6-Year Old Oncology Patient Meets with Members of Congress to Discuss Health Care Needs for Kids

August 15, 2020

By: Staff Report, BayCare PR

TAMPA, Fla. – This week, 6-year-old Ellie York of Tampa and her family joined more than 50 other pediatric patients from across the nation in meeting with their members of Congress to speak out on behalf of children with complex medical conditions.

When she was just 2 years old, Ellie was diagnosed with Pre B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Her treatment included 26 months of chemotherapy, with several lengthy in-patient hospital stays during that time. Ellie had her last chemotherapy treatment on June 9, 2018. Currently, she undergoes blood tests and other diagnostic monitoring every three months.

6-year-old Ellie York of Tampa SOURCE: BayCare

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa has been instrumental in Ellie’s diagnosis, treatment and continuous care.

“Treatment at a children’s hospital was not only imperative for Ellie physically, but also psychologically,” said her mother, Jaclyn York. “At St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Ellie was surrounded by other children and she felt less alone. This also had a positive impact on her two sisters, 11-year-old Eva and 8-year-old Nora, who were able to see that Ellie wasn’t the only child needing frequent hospital visits.”

During the Aug. 10-14 meetings, which were part of the Children’s Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Week, the York family met virtually with U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis, Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Darren Soto, Greg Steube and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio as well as senior health care advisors from the offices of Rep. Ross Spano and Sen. Rick Scott.

Together, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital and the family asked Congress to continue to take into consideration the health care needs of children with life-threatening, complex or chronic conditions, which remain critical even as we continue to combat COVID-19. In addition, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital President Sarah Naumowich, BayCare Pediatric Service Line Medical Director Dr. Christina Canody and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital emergency physician Dr. Juan Carlos Abanses highlighted how the hospital has served children and families through the pandemic and remains a resource for the community as it prepares for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

“While Ellie’s recent visits to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital have been brief, we are very grateful to have access to a children’s hospital that consistently provides high-quality care to meet the critical health care needs of Florida’s youngest residents, including pediatric cancer patients like Ellie, even during a global health pandemic,” added Jaclyn.

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