Ellie White, seven-year-old leukemia patient, to try experimental treatment in Ohio

Kelly Greig, CTV News Montreal
Published Sunday, October 20, 2019 11:35AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 20, 2019 12:40PM EDT

Seven-year-old Ellie White, whose battle against leukemia inspired thousands of people to get swabbed as bone marrow donors, is turning to a potentially life-saving treatment in Ohio.

The Hampstead, Que. girl is facing her third bout with the disease. White received a bone marrow transplant on February 6. While the treatment initially looked like a success, White relapsed after six months. 

The family received the news on her first day of Grade 2.

Now the Whites are preparing Ellie for an experimental transplant procedure only available in Columbus, Ohio. It means the family will have to move to the U.S. for at least three months. Ellie’s mother, Amanda Sokoloff White, said they plan to leave Friday, with treatment beginning on Oct. 28.

The treatment alone will cost upwards of $1 million. In less than a week, the family has raised nearly $200,000 to cover the costs. 

White’s story resonated across the city. After CTV aired the initial story in October 2018, 900 potential bone marrow donors signed up in one weekend alone. The normal rate is about 3,000 per year. According to Hema-Quebec, finding a match is extremely rare. 

The Montreal Children’s Hospital where Ellie was a patient performs between 15 and 20 bone marrow transplants every year. 

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