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Reiners unite for Bill and Kelli Norwood family

Infant daughter tackles her health challenges with help from friends

From the Newstrader - May 20th, 2009 - General News

Horsetrader photo

Bill and Kelli Norwood

TEMECULA – It’s been said that in times of crisis, you find out who your friends are. For the Bill and Kelli Norwood family of Temecula, California, NRHA members from around the world have been the friends that the Norwood’s can count on.

On April 5, the Norwoods noticed that their five-week-old daughter, Ella, seemed uncomfortable. She was vomiting and had diarrhea, which they thought might be symptoms of the flu. When they took her to the doctor, however, he found a mass in her abdomen and immediately sent Ella to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

Once at the hospital, it was discovered that the mass was pressing on her bladder and reproductive organs and appeared to have tentacles that had extended around her lower spine and tailbone. A pediatric neurosurgeon was consulted, and 10 days later, Ella underwent surgery to remove the tumor.

During this time, Ella was kept comfortable and Bill and Kelli moved into the nearby Ronald McDonald house for a five-week stay. Knowing their families and friends were all worried about Ella, the Norwood’s decided to start a web site through www.caringbridge.org so that everyone could keep up with Ella’s progress. Through the website, Bill and Kelli were able to feel the love and support from their friends and family from as far away as Australia, Canada and, of course, the NRBC.

After a 7.5-hour surgery on April 15, Ella lived in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for a week, eventually moving to the pediatric oncology ward of the hospital where visitors could see her. Although the tumor was indeed malignant, the doctors felt that they had been able to remove all of it. This meant no chemotherapy or radiation, though Ella will still need to be monitored on a regular basis for the rest of her life. She was released from the hospital on May 4, and was sent home to recover.

Despite her progress, family members say Ella is not “out of the woods.”

Through the ordeal, the reining community has reached out in a big way. On May 3, Foran Performance Horses hosted a clinic to benefit the Rebecca Goss “Boo-Yaah” Foundation. After the clinic, Martha Goss announced that all $2,140 raised would go straight to the Norwoods.

“It was a no-brainer for us all to agree that the proceeds go to Ella’s medical and household expenses,” Goss said. “We hope that it will help and give the family comfort as well.”

Goss has also announced that any further donations for the Norwoods can be made to the Goss Foundation, and 100 percent of the earmarked donations will go to the Norwood family. Because the Foundation is an approved 501c-3, all donations are tax-deductible.

“It’s the very least we can do to help,” Goss said. “The reining community has reached out to support this foundation in a big way, and it is only natural that now we can use our resources to help another one of our own.”

Lisa Hernandez is also organizing a benefit horse show. It is scheduled for Aug. 29 at Casner Ranch in Temecula, and will feature both reining and cow horse classes. After the show, there will be a live auction of donated items, including three one-hour P3 treatments for your horse, artwork, a week’s stay in a condo in Hawaii, a weekend at a bed and breakfast, clothes, arena work, tack, and much more.

If you would like to make a monetary donation to the Norwood family, please send it through the Rebecca Goss “Boo-Yah” Foundation, with a note in the memo line to be earmarked for Ella. Donations can be sent to: John or Martha Goss, 8787 Flower Rd., Rancho Cucamonga, CA  91730. Donations can be made via PayPal by visiting the web site at www.beccaboo-yaah.org.

Donations for the auction at the benefit horse show can be mailed directly to Lisa Hernandez, 4208 Conquistador, Oceanside, CA 92056. Hernandez can also be contacted at 760-732-3002 (home); 760-212-8552 (cell); or email reinergirl@cox.net.
To keep up with Ella’s progress, visit www.caringbridge.org

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