The Ella Thorne
Ella Thorne was diagnosed at a young age with cardiomyopathy, a rare congenital heart disease that affects 12 children out of every million each year in the US. This disease affected her lungs, endurance, and caused a rapid heartbeat.
This however did not stop Ella from doing what she loved most. In middle school and high school Ella played the cello and in her free time coached kindergarten soccer and helped with the local elementary plays. She also had a passion for protecting the environment and wildlife, especially whales. Ella graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 2019 and went on to study Environmental Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, a city she truly loved. In college, she became a part of Alpha Sigma Alpha and volunteered by tutoring at an elementary school. While Ella’s disease affected every aspect of her life, she never let it define her. Ella’s strength, determination, and fearless attitude allowed her to overcome her challenges and grow into the amazing and inspiring person she was. Ella passed away in November 2020 after a long fight against complications in a heart transplant surgery, but her memory lives on with the family and friends that loved her the most.
Two organizations that had large impacts on Ella’s life were North Star Reach and the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. North Star Reach was a special place to Ella as she became close friends with others that shared similar challenges to hers, without worrying about the obstacles of standard summer camps. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital provided care for her condition and is where she had several procedures throughout her childhood and teen years. Both of these organizations were vital to her physical and mental health.
Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) can be caused by a range of heart defects including defective vessels, leaking valves, and holes in the walls of the heart. CHD affects 1.4 million children and adults in the United States. Moreover, approximately 40,000 babies are born with CHD, which makes it the most common birth defect. The disease affects the person's daily routine by extreme shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, extreme fatigue, etc. This disease often leads to extreme surgical and health measures.
About the Foundation
The Ella Thorne Memorial Foundation was created by some of Ella’s close friends to keep the memory of their best friend alive. With this fund, we hope to donate money to North Star Reach and Helen Devos to help provide other children with the same opportunities Ella received. We ask that you give a donation via Venmo (@ET-MemorialFoundation) or Paypal (click on one of the donate buttons). You can specify which foundation you would like the money to go to or you can simply donate money and we will split it between the foundations.
Thank you for supporting this foundation and helping keep the memory of Ella alive.
- Sarah Jane Boeschenstein, Abbey Chambers, Anna Pike, Maddy Walker
About the Organizations
North Star Reach
North Star Reach is a summer camp for children who are affected by life-threatening illnesses. North Star is a non-profit that provides children with independence, new friendships, and a chance to experience camp life free of charge. The summer camp is staffed with medical professionals and accommodates for a multitude of different illnesses making it a safe environment for its campers.
Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
The Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan provides expert care with board certified surgeons, doctors, and nurses. The hospital holds a Congenital Heart Center that specializes in quality care and diagnoses for their patients from infancy through adulthood along with a specific foundation dedicated to research and education for children and adults with CHD.
Please contact us with any questions you have! Thank you for supporting these amazing organizations!