Local officers grant birthday wish to miracle child

NOW: Local officers grant birthday wish to miracle child


ELKHART, Ind. – Ella Hunt is a miracle child. She was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy as an infant. Doctors said she only had six weeks to live, and her prognosis hasn’t changed.

Miraculously, today she celebrated her 7th birthday with some special guests.

Ella’s diagnosis with Type 1 SMA means that she can’t generate muscle tone. “She lives essentially, trapped in her body that doesn’t work,” her mom Erica Hunt explained.

Ella does not know she is terminal, and the family lives each day to the fullest.

The other day, Ella saw a post online of an officer dancing with a little girl in a wheelchair. She told her mom that for her birthday, she wanted to dance with a police officer.

 “She’s a fighter and loves life,” said Hunt. The compassionate mother says that days like today are like a rebirth for the family. “We just wake up and say, “what amazing moment are we gonna make today, and I think today was a success.”

This afternoon a dozen officers surprised Ella. Each officer greeted her one by one with a gift and a dance. After the initial gathering, six more officers surprised her. The 18 officers were from the police departments of South Bend, Elkhart County, Goshen, and Winona Lake.

Sargent Joe Bumbaugh with Winona Lake Police department was one of the officers to dance with Ella. “It’s moving experience for me, as I’m sure it is for all of the other officers here today,” he said. “I’ll carry this to the end of my shift. The end of my time.”

Reminders of her disease resurface when in between dances; suction is needed to help Ella swallow.

Songs about beauty and togetherness echoed in the hunt family driveway.

“The police officers were Ella’s gift – but then Ella, I hope, was their gift,” said Hunt.

Ella’s family celebrates her birthday monthly, and her mom said that this has been one of her best birthdays.

You can follow Ella’s journey online. Her family shares her story on her Facebook page, Ella Lanay Hunt.

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