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Strength and spirit


Ella Rogers is working hard to beat the odds.



Before Ella Rogers was born, the doctors told her mother to expect a silent baby.

The little girl had so many challenges in utero, they didn’t think she would survive. If she did, Lacey Rogers and her husband Bobby were prepared to watch their daughter get rushed away to the NICU as soon as she was delivered.

But when Ella arrived, by c-section, her parents were overjoyed to hear her screaming, at the top of her tiny lungs.

Now approaching her second birthday, Ella has continued to show that same amount of strength and spirit.

Diagnosed with the most severe form of spina bifida, Ella, of Johnstown, loves to dance in her wheelchair and give big hugs to her parents and big brother.

“She is such a blessing,” Lacey said. “We can’t imagine our life without her. She is the happiest baby and so easy going.”

Because of her damaged spinal chord, Ella can’t feel her legs and abdomen. Her latest accomplishment, sitting up independently, has taken months of hard work.

To help her meet these milestones,  Rogers family got connected with service coordinator Laura Elliott and physical therapist Annie Green, through the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities (LCBDD) Early Intervention program. Over the past year, they’ve come to feel like members of the family, Lacey said.

“I love them, (Early Intervention) has been fantastic,” she said. “They’ve come alongside me to help.”

LCBDD offers Early Intervention (EI) services in the homes of children, birth to age 3, with developmental delays, disabilities or medical conditions likely to result in delays. Services are provided at no cost to Licking County families.

Both Lacey and Bobby work and having EI team members come to their home has been huge, she said.

“They’ve helped me know what to expect as far as, ‘She’s not doing this yet….but she will,” Lacey said. “They go above and beyond, everyone at LCBDD does. When I have a question, they find an answer.”

Now that she’s sitting up, their next goal is to help Ella work on communication and learn to feed herself.

“I’d love to see her be able to crawl and be more independent,” Lacey said.

Lacey said she and her family feel blessed that their daughter has so much support surrounding her.

“We want her to be as independent as possible and I believe we can get there for sure,” she said. “I think she will move mountains someday and I’ll be there cheering her on.”

For more information about Early Intervention in Licking County, go to lcountydd.org/early-childhood/.


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