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Young UT fan battles rare type of cancer and gets support from Vol Nation

Ennie Avila is going through treatment for a rare form of cancer and is getting support from Vol Nation along the way.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It was around May when Ellie Avila was diagnosed with Myeloplastic Syndrome (MDS). Her bone marrow wasn’t making the blood cells that the body needs to fight off infections and diseases.

"It was really scary," Ellie said. "I was like, 'I'm just gonna refuse to get chemo because I'll lose my hair.'"

The 12-year-old was in 6th grade when she went to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital because she was having bleeding problems.

“She seemed like she had a period for almost two months, and was losing a lot of blood,” said Elijah Hunley, Ellie'suncle. 

Ellie went from going to school and socializing with friends, to total isolation. But watching football distracted her from her loneliness and she also got some special visitors. 

"That was cool. Because they're like really tall," Ellie said.

Some players from the Tennessee Vols and the Titans visited her in the hospital. That helped Ellie in her tough journey. But what also has helped her is her positivity.

“She's the water of everybody's day, especially our family,” Elizabeth Hunley, Elli's mom said. 

Credit: Ellie Avila

Her uncle said what makes Ellie special is that she has the biggest heart.

“She'll never say anything bad to you or bad about anybody and that's what makes her special to me,” Elijah said. 

The good news is that Ellie's going to be leaving the hospital soon. She will still need to be close to the hospital, but at least she will have a little more freedom. For Christmas all Avila wants is to be with her family and when she recovers, she wants to share her positivity with other kids.

"I want to be there for other kids that are gone through this just like the person was there for me," she said.

To support and help Ellie and her family visit GoFundMe.

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