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Ella's Story

Ella Thorne was diagnosed at a young age with cardiomyopathy, a rare congenital heart disease that affects 12 children out of every million each year in the US. This disease affected her lungs, endurance, and caused a rapid heartbeat. 

This however did not stop Ella from doing what she loved most. In middle school and high school Ella played the cello and in her free time coached kindergarten soccer and helped with the local elementary plays. She also had a passion for protecting the environment and wildlife, especially whales. Ella graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 2019 and went on to study Environmental Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, a city she truly loved. In college, she became a part of Alpha Sigma Alpha and volunteered by tutoring at an elementary school. While Ella’s disease affected every aspect of her life, she never let it define her. Ella’s strength, determination, and fearless attitude allowed her to overcome her challenges and grow into the amazing and inspiring person she was. Ella passed away in November 2020 after a long fight against complications in a heart transplant surgery, but her memory lives on with the family and friends that loved her the most. 

Two organizations that had large impacts on Ella’s life were North Star Reach and the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. North Star Reach was a special place to Ella as she became close friends with others that shared similar challenges to hers, without worrying about the obstacles of standard summer camps. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital provided care for her condition and is where she had several procedures throughout her childhood and teen years. Both of these organizations were vital to her physical and mental health.


About Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) can be caused by a range of heart defects including defective vessels, leaking valves, and holes in the walls of the heart. CHD affects 1.4 million children and adults in the United States. Moreover, approximately 40,000 babies are born with CHD each year, which makes it the most common birth defect. The disease affects the person's daily routine by extreme shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, extreme fatigue, etc. This disease often leads to extreme surgical and health measures.

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The Ella Thorne Memorial Foundation is so thankful for any and all donations. We hope that we can help others with stories similar to Ella and spread love in the way that she did. 

Thank you for learning more about our cause!

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