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MEET OUR ALL-STAR - ELLIE

Meet our all-star

Ellie and her family have had quite a journey over the past nine years of her life, but through it all, their local CMN Hospital has been a part of it. Here's their story, as told by Ellie's mom, Nikki Fontanetta:

"I've heard people say that life is a journey, an adventure on the highway of life."

"My life is that way. As a mama, my parenting journey is a road. Sometimes it feels as easy as a car ride around the block. Other times, it can feel like a twisting road, uphill, in the dark. Either way, I have a destination."

"A destination that in my mind includes keeping Ellie well, and in my heart raising both my daughters to be sweet, compassionate, loving, faith-filled girls."

"Recently, someone asked me how my life is different than other parents'. At the time, our life felt like we were on cruise control, and answering his question was a little difficult. After this past spring, when Ellie had two emergency surgeries, it is easier to answer that question. Let me start at the top. My husband, Marc, works hard for his family. That means time away - a LOT of time away. When Ellie has an appointment, a procedure, a test, or even surgery, his work doesn't stop. He can't be at everything that he wants to be. That is hard for all of us. Me, the mama, I feel so stuck. I want to be in two places at once. I want to be with Ellie when she is having anything. When she is in the hospital, I never leave her bedside. The other half of my heart wants to be with Mia and Marc, snuggling on the couch, eating dinner, being a family in our home. My heart actually hurts when we are all separated. When we are separated, we are not as strong. We need to be together. I need us together. When Ellie has 'something,' Miamisses her. Mia and Ellie are best friends. Mia has learned how to be patient and helpful by having Ellie as her big sister. Ellie has learned graciousness and gratitude. They both understand acceptance."

"Our whole family has a big faith. Every experience we have helps grow that faith. We have learned not to take anything for granted. We have learned to celebrate the little things in life. We know how fragile, precious and fleeting life can be. We have learned that no matter how hard we try to plan, life's plan, good or not so good, always prevails."

"The important thing, though, is that my family is in the car, together. We are buckled up, savoring life, scattering hope, and surrendering to the journey as we travel along the highway of life. And we are so grateful for this path that Ace Hardware has provided us. The journey this year is an important one - one that we hope will inspire others to support CMN Hospitals. Because Ellie's journey would not be what it is today without them."