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Spring 2019Little Miss Miracle

Interview with Ella Chadwick

Meet Ella Chadwick: an adorable 11-year-old Pride of Britain winner from Whitworth who won hearts across the nation for her bravery in overcoming a rare kidney disease.

Born with congenital nephrotic syndrome, Ella survived 44 gruelling operations in her first six years and was forced to have both of her kidneys removed before receiving a lifesaving kidney from her grandmother.

Even after her tough start in life, Ella has never let that stop her, pouring all of her determined efforts into supporting the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, which looked after her, and raising funds to help other sick children.

We spoke to Ella and her mum, Karen Hughes...

Congratulations on your Child of Courage award for bravery at Pride of Britain, Ella. How was the awards ceremony?

E: It was really good. I met Simon Cowell again and he was sat on a table next to us with Olly Murs and Peter Andre.

K: I looked around at one point and Ella was sat on Olly’s knee. They didn’t seem to mind, they were like big kids and they were all brilliant with her.

How is life different for you both now, five years on from Ella’s transplant?

K: Ella was always at hospital. I think the longest period she had without being admitted was three weeks. She was always tired and had daily peritoneal dialysis and haemodialysis every other day if stable. She could not go more than a few days when the line stopped working.

Ella’s also overcome sepsis, pneumonia, numerous strokes, blood clotting deficiency, dialysis-caused epilepsy and bone disease. We were told on many occasions there was nothing else that could be done and to say our goodbyes.

Now she has to take anti-rejection drugs, which she will need to take for life, and attend hospital every six weeks to make sure her kidney is still working.

She also needs insulin because of post-transplant diabetes. Ella is definitely a miracle still being here with a smile on her face.

What else have you got lined up for this year?

K: Ella’s going to be doing the 1.5km Great Manchester Mini Run again this year. We did think about the Junior Run, which is 2.5km but we think it is a bit too far as she uses a frame.

Ella has also sent off some photos to Zebedee Management, an agency who represent models with disabilities, so we will see where that leads.

I am going to ask them to sing happy birthday to Sydney at the run, even though it is a few weeks after his birthday.

Who is Sydney?

K: Sydney is Ella’s kidney; he will be five on 7 May.

Ella, you’ve done lots of work with charities - what can you tell us about that?

E: I sang ‘This is my Fight Song’ on the X-Factor final. Robbie Williams gave me a kiss. I have also met Victoria and David Beckham.

K: Ella has done loads with a charity called Rays of Sunshine, singing at their concert a couple of times and recording a song with them. She has also helped support the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Lots of charities have helped over the years, it is so hard to help them all in return.

We hear you have made hundreds of get-well cards for other children in hospital, Ella.

E: Yes, every child needs help. It can be boring in bed and you have to ask to go to the playroom. If you need help, call me and I will get you a card and a toy.

K: Ella loved getting cards; her hospital walls were full of them. At times people would send notes or little things, which was lovely.

Even when she was in hospital when very young, she would try to make the other patients happy by singing to them or drawing a picture because she didn’t like to see them upset. She would always try her best to cheer them up.