We will always remember Ellie for her love for others, her creativity, sensitivity, and delight in life! Ellie's light has spread far and wide... may it continue to shine in our hearts.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Ellie's blog giveaway has officially begun!

How to enter:

Leave a comment. Please give your name, where you live (City and State, or Country - obviously for security reasons, do not leave your full address and you don't need to put your city if you're not comfortable with that. I just thought it would be fun to hear where people are visiting from.) and a brief description of how you know or have heard of Ellie.


Send an email to: seskees at hotmail dot com (replace at with "@" and dot with "." and run it all together). I know that some people have had trouble commenting, so I want to make sure that you have an alternate way of reaching me. When I receive your email, I will copy it and put it into the blog comments.

How it works:

This will be a three-part giveaway.

1. On Tuesday afternoon, we will draw from all of the names we have gathered so far, and the winner will be asked to be the guest blogger on December 19. The winner will have until Thursday to send me, via email, something that they would like to say on this blog. If the winner does not wish to participate, we will continue to draw names until we find someone who does want to. (Which is why we are holding this drawing so early in the week.) This is your opportunity to share how Ellie and her journey have touched your life in some way, or memories that you have of Ellie, or whatever you feel pertains to Ellie. It can be as long or as short as you would like. I will post the winner on Tuesday night in order to give plenty of time to correspond with the person.

2. On Wednesday night, we will draw from all of the names we have gathered so far (including all names in the hat from Tuesday's drawing, but not including Tuesday's winner) and the winner will receive a 4x6" framed piece of Ellie's art (it will actually be a high quality color copy, as we prefer to keep all of Ellie's original art for obvious reasons). I will post a photo of the art on Wednesday morning, and the winner will be announced late that night.

3. On Thursday night, we will draw from all of the names we have gathered from all of the previous days (not including the winners from Tuesday and Wednesday) and the winner will receive a hand sewn pillow made from Ellie's clothing. I will post a photo of the pillow on Thursday morning, and the winner will be posted on Friday morning, along with the guest blogger's entry.

So... here's a little teaser...
I looked back over many of the photos that I have posted on the blog and picked clothing for the pillow that I thought you would recognize. There will be a square on the pillow from the following outfits:

November, 2006 - in the hospital
Tinker Bell P.J.'s

January, 2007 - the day Ellie let go of the rest of her hair and Ethan shaved his to support her
Butterfly shirt

February, 2007 - photo shoot by Cece Glover
Teal blouse

April, 2007 - after being released from the ICU
Ellie's most comfy blue sweater that she wore ALL the time

Early June, 2007 - goofing off in a little tea shop after our trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Adorable blue and green silky print top

Mid-June, 2007 - On vacation to Montana
Aqua sweatshirt

June, 2007 - Vacation in Montana
White sweatshirt

September, 2007 - Playing with Eliana in the driveway after moving to Montana (Ellie was at her all time healthiest during this time)
- Heart top and jean skirt

November, 2007 - Ellie's last Thanksgiving.
Peach top (this shirt was given to Ellie by her friend Lia, at the Ronald McDonald House in NY. The last time I talked with Lia's mom, she said that the doctors had done all that they could for Lia and the cancer was still there. I haven't heard any more, but am not sure if she is still alive...)

December, 2007 - resting with Daddy in front of the fire
Satin butterfly P.J.'s

Thank you in advance for participating in this! I've been so looking forward to it, and hope that you all enjoy this. I guess there's nothing more to say, other than - let the commenting begin! :-) Everyone is welcome - friends, family, strangers, people overseas... Come one, come all!


At 2:31 AM, Blogger Amy said...

I've been waiting all day, it's been Monday here for hours and hours! I am Amy, I live in Wagga Wagga, which is in Australia. I read Tricia, Jessica and Meg's blogs, through my brother, so I found out about Ellie as soon as they blogged about it. I suppose it has meant so much because I feel like it could have been my family. I am the same age as Sarah and have a daughter just younger than Ellie and a son just older than Ethan, as well as a younger daughter. I made a commitment to pray for the Skees family for the rest of my life.

At 3:37 AM, Blogger Kimberley said...


Me again, Kimberley from London(ish), England.

I started reading about Ellie about 18 months ago. Sadly I can't remember how I arrived here but I guess what is important is that I couldn't stop thinking about your litle family, so I just had to keep coming back to check how you all were doing. I have laughed, and cried along with you guys - and Ellie and Ethan continue to inspire me.

You must keep writing :-), I know there are so many of us who now feel a bond with your family, even from across the ponds! xxxxx

At 6:50 AM, Anonymous Edith Tyler said...

This is Edith from South Carolina mostly known as Mema. I have followed Ellie's journey because of my Daughter-in-law Laura who is with NTM. As I sit here at work I wonder what memory of all you have shared stands out in my mind about Ellie. First and foremost what I have learned about relationship with Jesus and how important He is in our lives. Then all the pictures and videos of Ellie dancing moved my inner being and caused me to personally realize we should always dance no matter what. But I think the most valuable memory of all I have read and experienced from this journey of Ellie's is her face. On her face I see Jesus and isn't that what living is all about? I could share many things but I will always see her face and will see Jesus. God Bless you at this time in your lives. Remember- Ellie lives because Jesus Lives!

At 7:18 AM, Blogger Tricia said...

You know I want that pillow.
How I knew Ellie - sleepovers!
Tricia, W.P. FL

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning Sarah, I am Ellie's GREAT AUNT B, from Orlando, FL of USA. Consider me entered!! Neal would like to enter also, he will attempt to comment when he gets home from school today. This is such a great idea! I have known Ellie since she was born... girls weren't so common in our family, she was such a beautiful addition! I remember changing her diaper was so strange to me... so use to boys! Playing with a barbie instead of GI Joes was such FUN!! Reading the American girl books to her in NY was such a pleasure. She blessed my life! Aunt B

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Hello Sara, John and Ethan. I'm sure you'll get a huge responce to the giveaway. Lots of people love and miss Ellie and are heavy hearted as this bitter sweet anniversary approaches.
Love Jud and Family (Florida)

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

cindy miragliotta
methuen ,mass

I heard about Ellie from niece in florida - Deb Walker and I have followed ever since.
I think it is some of the best writing I have ever read. I agree with the people who have said you should write a book.
One of the reasons I got hooked in the begining was because my grandson was born blind in March of 06, I knew Ellie had lost sight in on eye due to the cancer.


At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dawn Simons
Groveland, FL

I know Ellie and her family from Lake Howell Bible Chapel. I remember when she was little and she would run around the fellowship hall and her Grandpa Stan would always have her in his arms. Ellie and my daughter used to play together in the nursery.Even after we moved we heard about Ellie and started to pray and then started following the blog.I prayed everyday for Ellie and the family and was honored to be able to go to the memorial service. The Skees continue to be in my thoughts and prayers every day. God Bless

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Allison said...

I stumbled onto your blog from a little picture of Ellie in someone else's blog that I had found and I have felt connected to your family ever since. I live in Boone, Iowa. You have really touched my family, I have 3 girls and at the time of when I found your blog a little over a year and 8 months ago, my daughter was almost 7 at the time and she was so close to the age Ellie was when she first got sick. My family still continue's to pray for you guys. One of my favorite pictures of Ellie is the one when you guys went to the American girl store and she got the matching outfit to her doll, She looked so happy and excited. What an exciting giveaway, enjoy reading all the comments. We love you all and will keep praying for you.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Shilo said...

Hi, I'm Shilo from Davenport, WA but I actually learned about Ellie when we lived in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela from the Price family.
We learned from Ellie as we followed your blog and continue to learn from you as you share your journey with us.
Many blessings.

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Morning Sarah,
A lot of my devotions over the past week and half have all been centered on loss. God does nothing by coincidence as we are coming up to the year mark. I miss her so much and I feel so selfish in saying that to you. Ryan talks about her still almost on a daily basis. He loves her and she was so special to him. It gives him comfort to know she is in heaven waiting for us. He often includes her in conversations about God and about heaven. In his mind she is and will forever be an angel.

I have so many favorite memories with Ellie: building forts, making crafts, drawing, singing together, just her intense level of communication from the time she was so little. And it was not always in words, from her deep beautiful eyes, the resting of her hand on your shoulder as she became involved in whatever you were doing. She invested herself in everything around her as she experienced it....you couldn’t help but experience it with her. My most vivid memory is from the night that I watched Ellie and Ethan for you and John. Alexis, Ryan, Ellie and Ethan, all four of them in one bed. Alexis fell asleep first and I moved her to her bed. Ryan and Ethan were content watching a movie but Ellie was wired. She and I ended up in the rocking chair that you and the ladies gave me for my birthday. Every time I would try to get her to calm down we would end up in giggling match. The more she laughed, the more I laughed. She was sitting in my lap as I tried to rock us both, but those long slender legs kept coming un-tucked and we would end up laughing all over again as we tried to not end up as a heap on the floor. The boys finally drifted off and I tried everything to get her to fall asleep. I was convinced you would never trust me to watch them again if I couldn’t get her to sleep. But now I am so thankful that she didn’t. I can see her face as she looked up into mine as I sang her the 5th lullaby, I can feel her soft cheek and hair on my finger tips as I stroked her face while I sang. I get to hold that precious memory that just she and I shared for the rest of my life.

Tonya and Ryan Lundeen from Altamonte Springs, FL
Life long friends of John, Sarah, Ellie and Ethan

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Jen Johnson said...

Hello my dear friend! This is Jen, your neighbor! We met your family by way of hay. La needed it and we had it! We are so very thankful that God, in his perfect timing, connected us to you all. The courage we have witnessed in your family has been life changing for our family. You let my kids in on a slice of something heavenly and for that I am forever thankful.
I can see you smiling at your computer knowing how much you love it when anyone comments on your blog! I hope that love surrounds you this week.

Much much love~Jen

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Jennifer Wiser said...

Hi Sarah,

I'm Jennifer Wiser in Holly, Michigan, a very small town just a little south of Flint and north of Detroit. We are a family who has walked the journey of cancer with our son (Alex who is 3 now) and although our outcome was different than that of your sweet Ellie - we have felt the pain and the heaviness that the devastating journey of cancer brings to a family. I have often struggled with the reasons that God chooses to heal some precious children and some He chooses to take home to be with Him. I have never been able to come to a conclusion - but have realized through our struggles and through reading your incredibly transparent and moving posts, that we don't have to understand (even though we think we would like to) but we can trust the ONE who holds the plans for our children in the palm of His hand.

We heard about your sweet daughter in the midst of our own battles with Alex's cancer. He was in the PICU at Children's Hospital in Detroit at a very critical time when the doctors said his chances of survival were less than 10%. We received a call from my niece and her husband who are training with New Tribes Missions, and she said, "Aunt Jenny, can you please read this girl's story, and can you pray for her?" From that moment, I've been hooked. I would come home late at night sometimes from the hospital, and read your posts, and I would cry with you. I would be angry with you and for you and I would hurt along with you. I so wanted for cancer to leave its hands off our children. I so wanted to take sweet Ellie in my arms with our precious Alex and make it all disappear and tell them it would all go away.

I would often be reminded ever so gently by the Holy Spirit and often times, by your blog, that I didn't need to make it all better, because indeed God would make it all better - in His time. It was amazing to me that some days, I would read your blog, and you may have been struggling and I was in a mindset of complete trust and determination to remember that God's will was best - and I felt I could so pray for you and pray that God's hand that day would protect you, uplift you, and comfort you. And then on days, when I didn't feel I could even lift my eyes upward to ask God for help, I would read your blog, and it was as if, all the way across the states (where ever you were at the time :-), God was giving you the grace and the strength that I so desperately needed to draw from. You encouraged me, us, our family to keep Jesus' love alive through every day moments, every day smiles, and to cherish them.

Ellie gave us hope and courage - she showed us how to be brave, and strong and happy and how to love Jesus even though your body would love to crumble and your spirit could be broken. She showed us to dance, laugh, and trust even when it hurts.

You and John have been real, you've been honest, you've been faithful. As a family, we have been uplifted and burdened to pray more, complain less, and grow together. We have a daughter who is 7 and she has learned so much from your sweet Ellie. She saw in her what she can be and should be no matter what difficulties life gives us. She saw a young girl just like her, who was stricken with a terrible disease, and kept a smile, who was kind, and sweet, and who loved Jesus. What more could I want for her than that?

We thank your family for your gift to us through Ellie's blog. We have been praying for you as this anniversary approaches, that God will give you the grace to handle in just the right way for your family. No expectations, no demands, no requirements - but that you will be able to laugh, cry, plead, hurt, be joyful, and heal....as long as it takes.

We would love to have Ellie's pillow. We would love to put it Audra's bed - so that she can always remember a little girl who was brave and strong and a little girl who is dancing with Jesus and is HEALED COMPLETELY.

Until we meet you in Heaven, we will pray for you.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Aaron @ www.HornIT.net said...

Name: Aaron Horn
City: Ames, Iowa
Website: www.elihorn.com

Sarah knows this, but for the benefit of the others reading the comments (I enjoyed reading posts from others explaining how they came on board), I will give my history.

My son, Eli, was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in June of 2007. On July 17th of 2007, my grandfather from Missouri (who travels around and preaches) e-mailed me the following:


You might want to check out a blog site about a little girl who also has stage 4 neuroblastoma. It looks like she has been at it for about a year. We got the name from friends in Florida. She's in an assembly in Orlando, FL.

You can Google it by typing in Ellie Skees for the search.


Here was my e-mail back 2 days later:

"FYI, this has been a big time sink for me lately. I'm reading every post on her blog. It's amazing. I e-mailed her mom today, hopefully we can touch base. I found a neuroblastoma cancer center in New York earlier on Tuesday, and then I got this e-mail so I searched the blog, and sure enough, Ellie got transferred there as well. Gave us a lot to think about. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks so much for this, it's been a big part of my days ever since...


I have read every entry in this blog from the day of its inception and found myself weeping in the Nuclear Medicine waiting room at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as I read on my cell phone what Sarah posted about Ellie's last moments with them.

Via e-mail back in 2007, Sarah gave us some priceless information about going to New York City and MSKCC. She set the example for selflessly taking the time to make the initial NYC experience less traumatic for us and we have since been able to do that for others, remembering how thankful we were that Sarah did it for us.

I guess if my name is drawn I would be reposting this on the blog, but in the event it is not, I wanted people to see how something like sharing your experience can really impact a strangers life that happens to be dealing with the same disease.

We are forever grateful for the role that Ellie and the rest of the Skees family have played in our lives, even though we've never met in person!

At 10:41 AM, Blogger oneofhisfriends said...

HI Sarah,

Last year, my church heard from Macon Hare of New Tribes Mission that Dave Mankins' granddaughter was ill. You were familiar to us.

Haverhill, MA

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Sheila said...

Sheila from somewhere on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. :)

I found this blog through the www.teambettendorf.com blog when their daughter Jillian had cancer. I guess that was almost 2 years ago now! At least a year and a half, anyway. Ellie has touched my life in so many ways, and I still find myself weeping over her pictures. Amazing little girl you have there, Sarah!

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Julene said...

Sarsh, I never met Ellie, Ethan or John, but I have known you all of your life. Maybe not closely, but thru Aunt None. I have known your Mom & the rest of her family, just about all of my life. I have enjoyed reading your blog & I print it off so Aunt None(Leona) can read it. She askes if you have been writing or not, will print this off for her.
We will keep praying for you & your family. Have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year as well as you can.


At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Julene said...

Sorry, I forgot to tell you, I'm from Shannon,Illinois

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Wendy Riedel
Standish, CA

I have followed the blog from the beginning...Sarah was one of my friends through childhood. We both lived on Janesville Grade...our mothers are friends, our brothers are friends. Sarah's family has had a rough journey before that has been published in a book by her mother, Nancy Mankins. My faith in Christ has grown as a direct result of knowing this family. Their faith and strength is AMAZING! Sarah, I do not know if you comprehend the magnitude of your family's testimony....I am not as good at expressing myself in writing as you are....Everyday I thank God for my children...I have come to realize that their trials are not the end of the world. My eldest son Brent has been diagnosed with Crohns Disease and my daughter Hannah has hearing loss due to nerve damage and learning disabilities...before your blog I was a very feel sorry for myself person. I have been a christian since the age of three and my faith has been strengthened by following Ellie's story. Your joy in all things is an inspiration. Thank you for allowing us to share your life.

Our prayers are with you'


At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah, what a beautiful tribute to Ellie!

We 'met' Elli when La and family answered an ad in the paper for a Golden Retriever puppy (Josie, as you know). I instantly loved your extended family...they radiated Jesus love, it was obvious. Loretta made a comment about Ellie and I immediately got nosey and asked questions and we said we would pray for Ellie and family.

Loretta also gave me the website for Ellie's blog. I followed it religiously, praying during the whole jouney.

I would run into Loretta occasionally and she would give us updates, too.

Then, when you moved to Montana it was so touching to meet this little girl who was so adorable and pleasant and kind. I will never forget how sweet she was to Kristina and shared with her all her cool Egypt stuff.

Also, I must tell you that your grace in adversity has spoken to me as well. We are praying for your sweet family. I know this time of year, especially the anniversary of her death, is tough. I hope you can feel the love and concern for you coming through the computer :) Love you, Sheri PS. HI JEN!

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Tammi Kay said...

Hi Sara,
I'm Tammi from Kapolei, Hawaii.
I don't tremember where I first found the link to Ellie's blog but it was right after she was first taken to the hospital with a problem with the initial problem with her vision.
I've followed every post since. Your faith has touchen my life in many way.
This is a beautiful tribute to Ellie's life. I'm sure whoever wins will be honored to have a small bit of Ellie to treasure.

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a friend of Sarah's family and attended church with her mother, Nancy, when I lived in Florida. My earliest fun memory of Ellie was going over to their house to play a card game called "Hand and Foot". Ellie was a 3-4 yrs old at the time... of course she didn't play with us, but she would take turns sitting on our laps. Hmmm... wonder if she was smart enough to go back and tell her mom what was in my hand?!?! LOL We have a picture of my husband, Charlie, holding Ellie when she was 6 weeks old - it's precious. I think Charlie would like the artwork so he can frame it with the picture :)

I have continued reading Sarah's blog because I relate to so much of what she has experienced in the loss of a child (my son) and the loss of my first husband to cancer. Her words touch a deep place in my heart.

Susan Howe
Fredericksburg VA

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm Gina in SW Montana. I read about your blog last fall from Team Bettendorf. I read your blog weekely and Ellie is now a household name...your lives has touched our lives.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger lorilotz said...

This is such a creative, wonderful way to celebrate the life of your precious daughter. I am Lori, from NTM - previously from Bolivia, then Guinea, then back to Bolivia and now in Georgia.

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, I am the first one of the "family" that has entered! I would love to own an Ellie pillow. Although, I must confess that Ethan's pillow is my favorite. I love the colors.

I first heard about Ellie when she was born. But we moved to MT in 2000, so I actually only got to see her on visits back to Sanford. I remember one of those times, we visited you and John and I was taken on a tour by Ellie to her bedroom. She showed me every single toy she owned with a running comment on EACH one! I was flabergasted.

Later when you guys visited in June and then moved out here, I got to see her every day. What a precious privilege. Thank you for that.

I got to see her incredibly impish side and her creativity on the many crafty projects she did. She had such energy and never seemed to run out of things to do. Sarah, you outdid yourself keeping up with her!

My prayers and my love are with you, John and Ethan during these broken hearted days.

Aunt Reni in Bigfork

At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Celena Daniels. Winter Springs, FL. I know Ellie by meeting Sarah in an Extreme Home-Makeover to a friends apartment. Sarah and I became friends and low and behold, she set me up with her husband's cousin. And the rest is history. One cute memory of Ellie was the morning of my wedding photo shoot, Sarah did my make-up and Ellie wanted to sit and watch and ask questions. After I was "all made" up she said "You look beautiful." I was so touched by that. I was also touched by how much she loved Nick, my husband. She would just smile and want to hold his hand and show him her new dance moves. I would just sit back and watch my husband be doted on and how he just smiled and loved every minute of it!

At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sarah, John, Ethan, and always Ellie,

Why did I add Ellie's name? A number of reasons. First, Sarah, you keep Ellie and her life's purpose so alive for all of us. Second, I am writing to you on what is my dear mother's 83rd birthday. Although she passed away five years ago, it is still her birthday!! Birthdays, special days and all will still be Ellie's.
I miss my precious mother and I miss Ellie. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing with all of us with such heart and honesty.

I only met Ellie twice. At the first meeting, at your home in Florida, Ellie took me into her room and shared so much with me. When she heard that my daughter loved Cinderella, she gave me a tiny little Cinderella book to give to Heather. Ellie was so very thoughtful and generous!! Heather treasures that tiny book although she has never had the opportunity to meet Ellie. Ellie and I talked for a long time that day and by the time I left your home, I was completely in love with her. Ethan was also there that day. He was so genuine and funny and reminded me so much of my brother. John rode in on a motorcycle, a love of my husband's that I am learning to sort of like, a little. Sarah, you welcomed me as an old friend, even though we had just met.

Another time we stopped by for a short time and the third time I was with you was at Ellie's beautiful memorial service. I truly love all of you and check your blog almost daily. There is no way to tell you how much reading your blog has done for me and how it has comforted me so many times. You have shared so unselfishly.

When I saw the photo of Ellie in the Tinkerbell PJs, I just had to reply. My darling 3 year-old granddaughter is visiting and all my gifts to her for Christmas have been Tinkerbell. She has a gentle and immaginative soul like Ellie's.

One more thing, I love artwork and always have and Ellie's artwork is extra special. I am glad that you are keeping the originals but thank you that you are sharing copies.

For someone who is very self-conscious about posting, I have said a lot. Thank you, Sarah, for all you do and all you share.
Love and prayers,

At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! What a special thing for you to do for us. Sarah and I have known eachother since she was 8 and I was 7. I had the privilege to visit Sarah in the hospital and hold Ellie when she was born. My daughter AUbrey and Ellie were best of friends and also a year apart. Aubrey will probably want to enter her on her own. Keeping my fingers crossed. :) Love and miss you so much.
Vickie Sanford, Florida.

At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have never met you... but I feel like we are friends! I never met Ellie, but I know that some day we will meet. We live in China, and when we are in the states, we call South Carolina our home.

I was introduced to your family in late 2006. Julie Chaleski asked that I add Ellie to my prayer list. Immediately my interest was piqued, Ellie was born almost exactly 1 year before my daughter. I watched my daughter and compared her to the things that you and John were going through and prayed even harder. It was not until early in 2007 that I found out about the blog.... I poured over each entry... I laughed over some of them and cried over many of them... I prayed and I got my friends praying. I felt as if you had taken us in as your own family. There was nothing that I felt you were holding back. But more than that... you stay strong!! You not only say that you believe that God is soverign.... you LIVE that God is soverign! I have learned so many things from you... when things got too hard for you to write... you told us that... you have always been transparent with us. Even now, as you face another milestone... you share with us what you are struggling with and how your life has changed.

Sarah, I want you to know that you have even changed how I look at songs. The words can be a balm to the soul!!

Only one life to offer, Jesus my Lord and King.
Only one tongue to praise Him and of thy mercies sing. Only one hearts devotion. Savior, oh may it be, consecrated alone to Thy matchless Glory.. Yielded fully to thee.

Thank you for teaching us, and for taking us in to your "world" to remind us what an Amazing God we know-- and trust with our lives and our children's lives.

In His Care,

At 7:22 PM, Blogger Agnes said...

I'm Amy from Bakersfield, CA most of the year...Driggs, Idaho in the summer. I don't even remember how I found your blog...I started reading it just a few months ago. It took me a couple of days (and a lot of tears) to get through all of your story. Every week or two I check back to see how you're doing.

I am so amazed by your faith and your honesty...and I know it is from God. Thank you for letting him use you.

My sweet boy was born just a couple of days before Ellie died. I will always think of her around his birthday and be so so thankful for everyday that I have with him.

At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah, John and Ethan,
hello from the Kurz Family in Sanford FL. We worked with you at NTM and I had the joy of helping to host your baby shower for Ellie and you felt so bad when we had to move it to your mom's house because your doctor would not let you go anywhere. I also held your precious Ellie in the hospital the day after she was born. We do miss seeing you around here, but are so thankful that you are doing ok in Montana. We loved to hear about Ellie and her zest for life. She always a big smile. Thank you for sharing your journey with us as you have been such a blessing to so many hurting people even when you hurt so much. We still pray for you.
Love, Bill, Karyn, Steven, Emily & Jonathan
one time when Bill was at your house fixing something, Ellie wanted Steven to play barbies with him. Ethan wanted him to play with him as well. He would have been about 8 or 9 and all boy!! :)

At 8:43 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

You know me! I still remember when you brought the ultrasound of Ellie to church & showed it to all of us. :)

Jessica - Wesley Chapel, FL

(If my mom wins the pillow I'm making her share it with me!)

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! I am Leslie from Wichita, KS...but grew up as an MK in Brazil. I met you, Sarah, when I was in 8th grade at a refresher course. Learned about Ellie from my Uncle Macon and have followed your blog since the very beginning! We still pray for you and think of you always!!!!

At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Melanie said...

What a special way to get a little insight into all the people who have been following this blog and to get a glimpse at others experiences with Ellie. Her story has touched so many lives -- across the globe! By people's comments, you can see how much your sharing of this journey has influenced lives and how Ellie is carried in so many hearts.
I hope as you read each comment that you feel surrounded by all the outpouring of love and that it gives you some measure of comfort.
Love, Ellie's Great Aunt Mel
(Hebron, Connecticut)

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Hi Sarah! You don't know me; I live in Elgin IL and have been following your blog for two years. Shari Weber told me about it. I think you may be related somehow; I'm not sure.

Can I please tell you that I replay that video from 5/2/2007 over and over? Ethan is a bundle of joy, and he is just so tender with Ellie while you're all at the airport.

Sorry doesn't begin to express how I feel. But, I am also so happy for you and your family and friends. You got to KNOW Ellie. It seems she was a delightful young lady.

I'm so glad you have continued the blog. I've enjoyed following your family. Thank you for letting the world see inside your lives. We have laughed and cried along with you. You are not alone.

Patty Curtiss
'He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.' Proverbs 11:25b

At 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Dana C - I am currently in Indonesia, on the island of Java. :-) I don't know that I ever met Ellie personally, but I know Chad (we went to the same church in MO) and know Vickie M, and am also acquainted with John's parents (dad, mostly) through my previous ministry in MO.

At 11:45 PM, Blogger BreezieGirl said...

I found out about Ellie on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/meganleewelch/274353842/)... I saw this about a month after it was posted in mid-November or so 2006 and I began and have read ever since. I never knew her personally, but I feel like I know your whole family through this blog.

Breanne in San Diego, CA

At 2:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm Erin Sheffield an MK in Guinea West Africa. I meet Ellie once and was excited at her energy for life. My dad learned about Ellie from your brother and I have been following the blog from the very beginning.

At 6:23 AM, Blogger Mollie said...

I am Mollie, from Doylestown, PA. I heard about Ellie from college friends of John's (the Newton's) very shortly into her journey. While I never met her, I absolutely look forward to meeting her in heaven.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Sarah and Family,

I live in Red Bluff, California. I first heard of your family when your dad was missing and your mom came and spoke at our church. I found out about Ellie from Chad and Janeene (whose ministry I follow and pray for)probably 18 months ago or more.

I'm not a fan of survivor shows on TV, however, you are a real life survivor story that I am addicted to. Even when I've cried my eyes out, I just had to keep checking back to see how on earth anyone can survive though such heartache. I have two grown children and 5 (expecting the 6th) precious grandchildren. Life is so fragile and painful at times, and what you've gone through seems like one of the worst things that could happen. I have been so blessed by your honesty and openness in sharing your heart. When my problems seem big I get online and see what you're going through and it encourages me. I can see we really do serve a BIG God and this life is is not all there is. There is hope and a future. With God ALL things are possible. God bless you and your entire family. Thank you so much for letting God use you as a window into His heart.


At 9:17 AM, Blogger Jamie Cusimano said...

I am Jamie Cusimano and I live in Sanford, Florida just a few blocks from where John, Sarah, Ellie & Ethan used to live. We occasionally gave Ellie rides home from school before she was diagnosed with cancer. S

arah came and spoke with the kids at the school about Ellie and her cancer. It really helped them to hear from someone who can easily and honestly express herself, great job Sarah!

I want to always be honest with my children and this blog has helped me talk with them about death, dying, heaven, cancer and a host of other topics.

I have begun a new quest to get my RN! I am almost 40 and slowly trudging through my classes to get into the RN program. God has blessed me with a job at the hospital here in Sanford, perfect hours, etc. Not by chance I was assigned to the oncology wing! Not where maybe I would have chosen but I had no idea where I wanted to work. Ellie's story and how her family and friends walked this journey with her has inspired me to love these patients and be tender and careful and listen to them and their families as they walk this bumpy path of cancer. I cannot remove their disease but I can be God's hands and feet and even at times voice His love for them. Thanks for inspiring me to help others.

I love hearing about your life in Montana and the ups and downs. We all have them but at times are afraid to admit that we are human and struggle. Transparency is sadly missing in many of our relationships and we really miss out on help and support from others that we could use in tough times. I know, Sarah, your writing is therapeutic for you as is art and other things. Thank you for your contribution to so many lives.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Dear John and Sarah,

We want to send a wee note to let you know that we are praying for you ... especially this week. We know the Lord will minister to all three of you in precious and tender ways, but we want you to know that you are on our hearts today, and this week. Your blog is amazing. We read it often with loving thoughts of you. The Lord has given you a very special gift of expressing yourself in writing. (Like your grandpa!) Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. It has blessed our hearts.

Our love,

Keith and Wilma Forster

At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Chelsea Gustafson and I'm from Oviedo, FL. Although I never met Elli, I feel as if I know her after keeping up with the blog and talking to one of my best friends (her cousin) Kristen Miller. We all can't thank you enough for putting your heart on the line and sharing your thoughts and heartaches. You help each of us in our own specific ways, but I believe there isn't one of that hasn't been touched by Ellie's story and the way you and your family continue to stay so strong and inspire so many people just by living your life. I just want you to know that you all are loved (even by those of us that don't know you) and are constantly being prayed for! God Bless!

At 12:51 PM, Blogger AJS said...

Hi. I'm Angie. I live in West Michigan. Although I have never met anyone in the Skees family, thanks to your fabulous blogging, I feel like I have had the privilege of knowing your sweet Ellie.

Her journey, her strength and courage and your writing have been a constant reminder of how good God is.

My daughter, Grace, was born with birth defects, that although they are not life threatening at the moment, have caused many challenges along her 4 years of life. Walking alongside your ups and downs has helped me to not feel so alone in our daily journey.


At 2:51 PM, Blogger Deann said...

Deann Barrett
Colorado Springs, CO

I found this blog through the Corley's. Kristi and I were high school friends, and she emailed me for prayer for Ellie. Once I read the first entry on this blog, I was hooked in prayer for Ellie and the whole family, as well as reading Sarah's inspirational entries.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gena Haviland
Charlotte, NC

Dearest Sarah,

Yet again your precious heart amazes me!! I honestly feel a part of your family and we are sisters in Christ. We have followed your blog since almost the beginning. I came across it because of John Sumrall who also has NB(although cancer free for 17 months now) and was a friend of someone in our church family. I have laughed, cried and been completely uplifted with your blogs....

Your family has been an inspiration to so many of us out here! I can not thank you enough for taking the time out of your life to post so we all feel included. My nine year old daughter and I feel in love with Ellie and her brilliant love of life. She is such an example of how we are to live each day and treasure every moment. I look forward to the day when we all can meet and dance in Heaven as one big family!!

We will continue to pray for John, Ethan and yourself, especially as the anniversary approaches. May HIS peace surround you...

The Haviland's

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Oregon Criss's said...

Have I missed it?? I had it on my mind to be here Monday but didn't remember until today- Wednesday!
I am Debi, I live in Cornelius Oregon. I found your blog thru my friend Phyllis's blog (she's a missionary in Ukraine) almost 2 years ago and have prayed thru this journey with you all!
This journey has ment so much to me because my 8 yr old son has spent the last year going thru his own medical rarety and though we've had to say 'good bye' 6 times, he is graciously still with us- and presently yelling outside while sliding around in the snow! I've learned from Sarah how to accept facts and work thru the scaries in my heart and with my children- even though I've wanted to crawl in a hole. Thru Ellie I've learned that a smile can last forever and each time I think of her, I think of how its ok to be joyful when life looks down.
We're still praying for you all Sarah!


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