A six-year-old girl with a rare illness who received dozens of Get Well cards from her Prineville community and beyond is back home after 17 days in the hospital. But Bella Whitlach still has a long road to recovery.
Whitlach was hospitalized with Steven Johnson’s Syndrome, which covers the body in blisters and sores. In Bella’s case, it quickly transitioned to Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis — a serious condition that comes with a 50% mortality rate.
During her hospital stay, her aunt Jennifer McDonald set up a PO Box at Pack-Ship & More in Prineville, where the public could drop off “Get Well” cards to Bella.
“They’ve just come in from all over. Like Vancouver and Camas, and over on the coastline,” Bella’s mother Megan Whitlatch said.
Bella was initially diagnosed with chicken pox.
“When we had to use Vaseline and Q-tips to un-glue her lips when she woke up, that’s when I was like ‘something else is definitely going on,” Megan said.
Between 75-100 Get Well cards have been sent to Bella, with more on the way.
“Just overwhelming amazing support. It started as a more of like a keeping her spirits up, but she has been a trooper through the whole thing,” Megan said.
She says Bella lights up when she gets new cards.
“I was like ‘Babe, there’s amazing people in the world out there and they care about you and they want to see you get better,’ and that just made her want to open more of them,” Megan said.
While Bella is finally home with her condition improving, it’s expected to be at least six months before she is fully recovered.
You can mail or drop off Get Well cards for Bella at 1555 NE 3rd St. Ste B-4-225 Prineville, Oregon 97754.