LUBBOCK, Texas — Several weeks ago we brought you a story about 5-year-old Ellie Mullins, a local girl suffering from a relentless, rare kidney disease called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, or FSGS. Due to the severity of the disease, Ellie suffered double kidney failure and is currently in need of an O positive kidney transplant to save her life.
Fortunately, after the story aired several people reached out to Ellie’s family to be her potential donor – getting her one step closer to a second chance. However, there is still a tremendous financial burden on Ellie’s family. If you’d like to donate to help them out, you can here.
When you ask Ellie what she’ll do when she gets a new kidney, her requests are simple.
“Play soccer, eat pizza,” Ellie said. “Spend more time with [my family].”
These may seem like normal things in the life of a 5-year-old, but sadly, a normal childhood isn’t something Ellie has ever known.
“She just wants the chance to be a normal kid,” said Ellie’s mother, Abigail Mullins. “And we want a chance to not have to think about the medical stuff and build our lives around it as much as we have been. In a way that gives us a lot more freedom.”
Having spent more than half her life battling FSGS, Ellie has gone through more hospital visits than most adults.
“She has to get shots every week,” said Abigail Mullins. “And she now takes those like a champ, you know, she has no problem with it. And she’s had more pokes and prods than we can count.”
Getting on the transplant list isn’t a short process either. It requires a lot of bloodwork and several tests.
“They have multiple, multiple tests they have to run and because she’s so little, and small, and they have to spread that bloodwork out over, you know, a longer period of time,” Abigail said.
However, there’s hope on the horizon. Ellie’s wrapped up most of those tests, and in about a week, she’ll start the process of finding a donor match — with seven people already signed up to help.
“I really wasn’t expecting anyone to contact us at all,” Abigail said. “And we had several people interested and willing. And so I’m really hopeful that it just takes one person to be a match.”
Although that’s all good news, the road to full recovery is still very long — and expensive.
“We have insurmountable costs due to her treatments, because her disease was so severe,” said Abigail. “And, of course, the cost of transplant is just a huge, a huge amount to deal with for anyone.”
The family is partnering with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association to raise funds.
By the end of the month, an anonymous donor will match up to $10,000. Donations are all tax deductible too.
“If we could wrap up, you know, the bulk of our fundraising before her transplant comes, that would just… we could breathe a sense of relief,” said Abigail.
Despite everything she’s gone through, Ellie has stayed strong and extremely brave. Both Ellie and her family’s strength and determination have been an inspiration to all of us.
“Through all this time, she has been a little conqueror, a little warrior,” said Abigail. “And she is, and she now faces those things with a sense of ‘I can do this.’”