She’s #BravEllie

Ashlea Daniels, Profiles Assistant Editor

The everyday 5 year old girl is the epitome of carefree. They’re full of energy, love princesses, the colors

Ellie, Robinson principal Johnny Bush and younger sister Jayda pose for a photo before the lighting of the RHS letters.
Ellie, Robinson principal Johnny Bush and younger sister Jayda pose for a photo before the lighting of the RHS letters.

pink and purple and they’re just starting to become their own little person. But, for Ellie Shaw, life as a 5 year old hasn’t been as carefree and energetic as it should.

As she was preparing to start kindergarten in August, Ellie was diagnosed with hepatosplenic gamma delta T cell lymphoma, an extremely rare cancer that has only affected forty-five people in the history of medicine.

“She’s making history by being alive right now,” said Tiffany Oliver, IB Biology teacher and a friend of Ellie’s mother, Melinda. “Every day is a gift with her.”

Ellie was adopted at birth by her parents Avery and Melinda Shaw, who also adopted her biological sister Jayda, 3, at birth.

Ellie has been through multiple biopsies, CT scans, chemo cycles and even a surgery to remove her spleen but she has continued to endure it all with a smile.

“She’s just happy, everything makes her happy. Lately, she hasn’t been so happy, but we’re doing everything we can to make her days as happy as possible,” Oliver said.

Ellie is the youngest patient known to be diagnosed with this form of cancer. Her only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. However, the operation is costly and donor marrow that is a proper match is hard to come by.

On October 9, Ellie’s parents got the call letting them know that her sister Jayda was a match for the bone marrow transplant.

Ellie, volleyball captain Rebecca Hill (’16), sister and fellow volleyball player Laura Hill (’17), and Jayda play with the Frozen-themed basket the volleyball team put together.

Then, volleyball captain Rebecca Hill (’16), one of Oliver’s students, decided to invite Ellie to the team’s dig pink game. Ellie stood up wig-less with a little pink bow wrapped around her head as Hill introduced her as her honoree.

The game gave others, like fellow honoree Kristina Chowning, a chance to fall in love with Ellie. Chowning, Robinson’s student success coach, approached Oliver the next week about hosting the Light the Knight Pep Rally in Ellie’s honor. At the event, over $1600 was raised to help the family cover the cost of medical bills.

“Robinson has really gotten together and stood behind this little girl in an amazing way and I’m really proud to be a part of it,” Oliver said.

Ellie will undergo her transplant in a couple of weeks. To help Ellie, you can learn more and donate at or like her BravEllie page on Facebook.