The Prineville community is coming together and sending Get Well cards to a six-year-old girl who is hospitalized with a rare illness.
Bella Whitlach has Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes.
“It’s an immune reaction most often to medication. It’s a rare condition. It’s an immune response that causes her skin to break out in blisters and hives,” Bella’s aunt Jennifer McDonald said.
Bella was initially diagnosed with chicken pox. As her condition worsened, it became clear that it was something much more serious.
The Stevens-Johnson Syndrome soon transitioned into toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN).
“Once it has transitioned to the TEN, it has a 50% mortality rate. It is very serious. She was really really sick,” McDonald said.
McDonald said blisters and sores have covered her niece’s body. It became too painful for her to move and eat.
Trying to bring positivity to her niece, McDonald set up a post office box in Pack, Ship & More in Prineville, where the community can send their thoughts and well wishes to Bella.
“When she’s down, I feel like cards and things like that will cheer her up. So I started a card initiative and I was hoping that our wonderful little community who wraps their arms around people when they’re in need, will reach out and mail her cards,” McDonald said.
McDonald says more than two dozen cards have been dropped off for Bella.
“I took her her first batch on Saturday and her older sister Alexis read them to her and she loved every second of it. It’s good for all the family just to have those smiles and those giggles,” McDonald said.
McDonald says Bella has started to improve, but it is a long road to recovery. The family expects it will take months for Bella to fully recover.
You can drop off get well cards at Ship-Pack and More in Prineville. You can also send cards to 1555 NE 3rd St. Ste B-4-225 Prineville, Oregon 97754
And you can donate to the family here.