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home : faith & community : connect with us April 29, 2016

11/15/2012 10:44:00 AM
Community rallies around little Lily
From left to right, Heather Hill with Lily in her arms, Karlè Pittsinger in the middle, and Lily’s sister, Aliya Zembruski, rally some support at a recent football game.Mirror photo by Vince Lovato
From left to right, Heather Hill with Lily in her arms, Karlè Pittsinger in the middle, and Lily’s sister, Aliya Zembruski, rally some support at a recent football game.
Mirror photo by Vince Lovato
Michelle Lovato
Staff Writer

It's going to take between $10,000 and $20,000 to help save Lily Hill's young life. But members of the Chelan High School Interact, Future Business Leaders of America and Future Farmers of America clubs, who are working in conjunction GiveNaked are confident they can do it during this year.

Naomi Ellingson, president of the Interact Club said that with the help of the surrounding communities, they can raise enough money to buy Lily Hill, 6 of Chelan, a seizure dog that might one day save her life.

Lily's mother, Heather Hill said that the idea to raise money for Lily came after a very scary night and her Facebook post the next day.

"We had a pretty bad night," Hill said.

Lily suffers from intractable epilepsy and porencephaly, which means she has a hole in her brain and will have epilepsy for life with some periods of control.

"I put her to bed, gave her a kiss and told her, 'no seizures tonight.'"

Lily and her brother, Jenson, 9, share a bedroom. Before Hill left Lily's side, her son, who suffers from a different kind of epilepsy, chimed in.

"Jenson said, 'I'll be your seizure dog,'" Hill said.

Hill said the family was familiar with the idea of a seizure dog because they've done research and saw news stories about them on television.

Once Lily's parents were asleep for the night, the first grader's body rebelled.

"Lily ended up having a pretty bad seizure that night," Hill said. "We didn't hear it on our baby monitor. Jenson came and got us."

The Hills moved Lily onto her side, administered emergency medication and got her the immediate help she needed. Lily spent several days at Children's Hospital in Seattle.

"If Jenson wouldn't have gotten us...," she said.
The next day Hill posted information about her emotional trek on her Facebook page, and local real estate salesman Richard Hillson, was moved to make a difference.
Hillson contacted the Ellingson family, who are heavily involved in Rotary and GiveNaked. The Ellingson's went to work right away.

"We are just really trying to get the community to pull together for this little girl," Ellingson said.

Students at Chelan High School jumped on board.
Madisson Dietrich, a CHS senior and FBLA President said their group is committed to raising money for Lily. The Chelan High School FFA jumped on board as well.
For their part in the effort to raise money, the CHS clubs are doing a variety of fund raisers throughout this school year.

So far, the CHS students collected about $70 in change cans and an additional $570 at a cake walk they put on at this year's CHS homecoming football game.

Dietrich said the combined groups are preparing several charity fund raisers.

On Dec. 1, Interact will sponsor a community movie day at the Ruby Theatre. Though Ellingson said she wasn't sure what movie would play, it would begin at 3 p.m. and it would have some kind of holiday theme.

On Dec. 5, Interact, FBLA and FFA are hosting a donkey basketball game, with all the proceeds donated to the Lily fund, Dietrich said.

Other fund raising events include possible human dog-sled race, a benefit concert and a bike-a-thon next spring.

The idea behind the charity event is that each participant will be paid for a certain amount of time they can ride their bike, Dietrich said.

In order to promote their mission to help save Lily, Dietrich and some student friends rode around on electric bikes during halftime of the CHS Senior Night football game Oct. 26.

Giving Lily a seizure dog may be something that can help save her life, Dietrich said.

And community members have several different avenues in which to participate in the life-saving effort. Change jars will be in the community, the fund raising efforts will continue through the year.

For the May benefit concert and auction, Ellingson is asking businesses to give anything they can to help in the effort. Ellingson expects the concert to be held at an area winery but hasn't locked in a venue yet.

"People who are not attending an event can give donations through," Ellingson said.

The GiveNaked website shares additional details of Lily's struggle to survive.

"Lily's longest seizure lasted 13 minutes, and on Oct. 3, 2012, Lily had three seizures in the night with the worst convulsions she has ever experienced," the GiveNaked website said.

During Lily's short lifetime she's run through about $750,000 in medical expenses, Hill said.

One of Lily's medicines cost $20,000 a vial, Heather Hill
said. The treatment regimen she was on called for 10 vials of medication.

"Her speech device was $10,000 all by itself," she said. Lily also needs a host of other specialized medical devices and undergoes regular monitoring.

Seizure dogs are trained to become a living alarm system for their epileptic partners, according to the website. Some dogs learn to alert their owners by barking when a child has an epileptic seizure. Others are trained to lay next to the epileptic child to prevent injury.

Still others possess specialized skills to predict when an epileptic seizure will occur in order to save a child's life. For more information about the fund raising effort, contact Naomi Ellingson at or 509-679-4296.

Contact Michelle Lovato at 509-682-2213

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