Positivity boosts 5-year-old

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(Contributed)

Ben Poss, [email protected]

When her father asked her what she was doing the other day, Ellie Capaldo replied simply, “Being awesome.”

The answer reflects the positive attitude of one child Dance Marathon has touched in recent years.

Ellie was 20 months old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Now, at the age of 5, she is on the road to being officially declared in remission.

The journey hasn’t always been easy for the family of four, which includes parents Nick and Amanda Capaldo, along with 8-year-old sister Addison.

“Our perspective has changed tremendously,” Nick Capaldo said. “I had heard of childhood cancer, but I’d never thought twice about it. Now that we’ve been in it, it has just been amazing how it’s helped us as far as our change in perspective.”

He credits Dance Marathon with making countless hospital trips easier for his family.

“The knowledge that any number of students will drop anything they’re doing and come hang out with our daughter at the hospital is just amazing,” he said. “It made the experience of being in the hospital more enjoyable.”

In fact, Ellie has been known to look forward to her hospital trips because she wants to see her Dance Marathon buddies so bad.

University of Iowa pediatrics Professor Sue O’Dorisio, Ellie’s oncologist, said she’s inspired by the girl’s positive spirit.

“If you saw her coming into our clinic, you’d say, ‘Why is that child coming into our clinic?’ O’Dorisio said. “She doesn’t look sick and doesn’t act sick. She’s doing her thing. She’s happy when she comes in and happy when she goes out.”

In addition to visiting Ellie at the hospital, Dance Marathon has assisted the family by paying $1,000 of their pharmacy prescription co-pays each year, giving them restaurant gift cards so that the parents can go out to eat while they visit the hospital, and providing Ellie with a scholarship should she choose to attend the University of Iowa when she gets older.

Nick Capaldo said he has endless gratitude for the organization and that he can’t imagine doing the things Dance Marathon students are doing when he was in college.

“Every time I sit and think about it, it blows me away how much these students do,” he said. “The work that they do on and individual level … They are breathing life into kids.

RELATED: Becoming part of the Dance Marathon family

“We look out at the crowd of 2,000 plus dancers and think, they [Ellie and Addison] have 2, 000 plus brothers and sisters out there.”

When her father asked her what she was doing the other day, Ellie Capaldo replied simply, “Being awesome.”

The answer reflects the positive attitude of one child Dance Marathon has touched in recent years.

Ellie was 20 months old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Now, at the age of 5, she is on the road to being officially declared in remission.

The journey hasn’t always been easy for the family of four, which includes parents Nick and Amanda Capaldo, along with 8-year-old sister Addison.

“Our perspective has changed tremendously,” Nick Capaldo said. “I had heard of childhood cancer, but I’d never thought twice about it. Now that we’ve been in it, it has just been amazing how it’s helped us as far as our change in perspective.”

He credits Dance Marathon with making countless hospital trips easier for his family.

“The knowledge that any number of students will drop anything they’re doing and come hang out with our daughter at the hospital is just amazing,” he said. “It made the experience of being in the hospital more enjoyable.”

In fact, Ellie has been known to look forward to her hospital trips because she wants to see her Dance Marathon buddies so bad.

University of Iowa pediatrics Professor Sue O’Dorisio, Ellie’s oncologist, said she’s inspired by the girl’s positive spirit.

“If you saw her coming into our clinic, you’d say, ‘Why is that child coming into our clinic?’ O’Dorisio said. “She doesn’t look sick and doesn’t act sick. She’s doing her thing. She’s happy when she comes in and happy when she goes out.”

In addition to visiting Ellie at the hospital, Dance Marathon has assisted the family by paying $1,000 of their pharmacy prescription co-pays each year, giving them restaurant gift cards so that the parents can go out to eat while they visit the hospital, and providing Ellie with a scholarship should she choose to attend the University of Iowa when she gets older.

Nick Capaldo said he has endless gratitude for the organization and that he can’t imagine doing the things Dance Marathon students are doing when he was in college.

“Every time I sit and think about it, it blows me away how much these students do,” he said. “The work that they do on and individual level … They are breathing life into kids.

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