EMORY, Va. - This past January, the life of five-year-old Ellee Large changed. After a night of running up and down the basketball court at her family's church in Abingdon, she became ill, and her mother took her to the hospital. Less than 24 hours later, Ellee was diagnosed with a high-risk form of leukemia.
As she battles against the biggest opponent of her young life, she now has some new teammates to cheer her on. Ellee officially signed a letter to join the Emory & Henry College Women's Basketball team.
"We are so excited to welcome Ellee into our Emory & Henry family," said Head Coach Anne Crutchfield. "The courage she shows every day inspires each of us to be the very best we can be. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a source of encouragement and support for Ellee and her family."
A first grader at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Abingdon, Virginia, Ellee spent the day meeting the team, picking out her locker and taking pictures with the team. In addition, Ellee delivered the team inspiration by handing out bracelets that honor her fight with cancer.
"She has been fighting hard as she continues her treatments at St. Jude," said Shauna Large, Ellee's mother. "Despite her challenges she has faced, her attitude and spirit have remained high and she has become an inspiration to her family, friends and her community."
Before practice, Ellee got to cheer on her brother Hudson (who she adores) as he took down a few members of the team in a "worm" dance race. She was also given a whistle by Coach Crutchfield and led the team in one of her favorite activities – running!
Since her diagnosis, the Wasps have sent Ellee letters and care packages to show their support while she has been away for treatments. "We are so thankful for the love and support shown to her by the E&H Women's Basketball Team," commented Shauna Large.
Ellee was joined by many of her family members, including her aunt and uncle, Stephanie (class of 1998) and David Miller (class of 2000) who are members of the E&H family.
-Brent Treash, '01 of the E&H Office of Communications contributed to this release