Turning Pain into Beauty

My friend Rebecca, of Shoved to Them fame, has a 9-year-old daughter named Ella.

This is Ella

Ella was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis two years ago, and after long, painful, difficult treatments (think thick, burning, weekly injections) they got it under control. Last year, she had an accident on her scooter and broke her jaw. Because of the medication she was on to keep the JRA under control, she couldn’t take any painkillers (no, not even Tylenol). She went through the whole healing process feeling every bit of pain. After that, they all hoped that with everything she’d been through, the worst was over.

In the past few months, though, she has been plagued with a cascade of mysterious symptoms with no diagnosis. These symptoms have moved from bad to worse so quickly that in the past month she has gone from dancing in her ballet recital, albeit with weak legs but a strong will, to getting her very own wheelchair. Kind of the absolute worst “very own” you could imagine for a 9-year-old.

She has faced all this with grace and courage. So much grace and courage that instead of giving up, she’s decided to channel her energies that can no longer go to dance and run into drawing. She wasn’t exactly an artistic prodigy six months ago:

But after two months of focusing on art while her legs grew steadily weaker, with no explanation and no ideas for treatment, and often not much hope of anything changing:

Pretty amazing, huh? Totally self-taught-she’s never had a single lesson

She drew a few pictures for me to feature here:

Check out the freckles! I didn’t even notice she had freckles until I saw this drawing…the kid’s got an eye for detail!

LOVE the arched eyebrow

Oh, the Disney eyes!

Since I’m me, though, I couldn’t resist pulling this picture off her blog and showing you:

Pretty fantastic, huh? I don’t know many 9-year-olds who would respond to suffering with art. Go check out her blog, Ella Doodles, for more drawings! She’s done some great religious sketches as well, including one of the Virgin Mary that looks uncannily like her mother, which I think is totally awesome.

She does custom drawings as well! Go check it out, and leave her a comment!

And please keep her and her family in your prayers. She’s been amazingly resilient and brave in the face of inexplicable suffering for a long time, and it’d be nice if she could get a break from it soon.


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