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In November of 2018, 4 year old Ellie Hoban was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. The journey to Ellie’s diagnosis was not an easy one. Her mom, Jenny Hoban, explains:

"One Friday in mid – October I picked Ellie up from pre-school. Her teacher said that she had started limping over the course of day but there was no event that caused an injury. We nursed the limp over the weekend and took her into her pediatrician on Monday. Her doctor ordered x-rays but nothing appeared broken. We were re-assured that nothing was wrong. Her energy levels decline and she began to refuse food. Over the course of the next 6 weeks we took Ellie into the doctor 5 more times. Each time her pediatrician said she was fine and refused to run labs. The Friday before Thanksgiving, I called the pediatrician's office again and asked for her to be seen by a different doctor. This doctor agreed that running labs wasn’t the worst idea. He made it clear that we wouldn’t have an answer but that results could give us a path to follow. Around 7pm that evening we received a call from the pediatrician who had ordered labs urging us to take her directly to the emergency room.


Ellie was admitted that night and the “full-work-up” began. On Saturday, we spoke with a specialist who wanted to get Ellie’s full health history starting on the day she was born. And then began the slew of tests and scans. We were awaiting an escort to her next scan but were told that it and all of the others had been cancelled. At that moment I knew they had found something. Eventually a group of doctors came to our room and asked to speak with Ben and I. I can’t remember how the conversation started nor ended but I will never forget the words, “we don’t mince words here at Lurie, your child has cancer.”  


Ellie was moved to the oncology floor and our 17+ month journey with cancer treatment began."

Ellie's story is unique. She had a robust response to the initial treatment and within 4 months of the diagnosis, she had no evidence of disease. Ellie continued on the usual course of treatment, and after many long, challenging months, she had her last hospital stay in February 2020. 

Ellie is now back to living the life she deserves. Her strength and endurance is unfathomable, and her love for life is unmatched. She is currently participating in an experimental treatment at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to help potentially reduce the chances of her cancer reappearing in the future. 

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© 2020 by Hoban Family Pediatric Cancer Foundation. 

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