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With help from friends Eliesse Jakotich raised $400 for Shriners Childrens Hospital

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO  - From left, Eliesse Jakotich and her friends, Mandy Mitchell, Morgan Keudell, Megan Potter, Rosie Booth, Katherine Ragen and Jane Ferguson, recently held a fundraising event for Shriners Children's Hospital. Eliesse Jakotich has a unique summer tradition: She holds fundraisers for Shriners Children’s Hospital. The 11-year-old feels compelled to give back to Shriners after everything it has done for her the past three years, according to her mother, Tia Jakotich.

Eliesse was diagnosed with a condition in which her patellas would give out due to a lack of support from the tendons around her knees. In February 2010, she had surgery to reposition three tendons on each knee and place a plate on each femur.

“After her first surgery, she was confined to a wheelchair for eight weeks with two leg casts that extended from her hip to her toes,” her mother said. “Her rehab lasted another six months to develop strength in her legs.”

Two additional surgeries were required, one to remove the plates and a second to add screws in the growth plate of each femur to properly realign her legs. Two weeks ago, the family was informed that Eliesse would not require more surgery and that the initial problem had been corrected.

“We are so happy that now Eliesse can once again play soccer, volleyball and basketball, ride bikes, swim and do all the activities that every 11-year-old girl wants to do,” Tia Jakotich said. “Eliesse over the past few summers has enjoyed setting up lemonade stands with several friends with the donations going to Shriners Hospital. But that was not enough for this summer ... she wanted to do more.”

She solicited help from many of her friends, including fellow Our Lady of the Lake students Mandy Mitchell, Morgan Keudell, Megan Potter, Katherine Regan, Sophie Wojcik, Anna Fanelli, Lauren Eyerly, Isabella Somers, Portia Magliana and Jane Ferguson and a friend from St. Claire’s, Rosie Booth, to bake goodies and make snow cones and arts and craft items. With the permission of the Lake Grove Swim Park staff, the girls set up tables in front of the park on a recent Saturday, raising more than $400 in four hours.

“The story is not about Eliesse,” Tia Jakotich said. “It is about all the amazing children who overcome challenges that they are faced with in their lives. It is about the doctors and nurses and staff that have the devotion to these children and it is about the strength of the children and their family members battling severe challenges. We feel that Eliesse was one of the lucky ones; she is able to enjoy all the activities offered to children her age. We pray for all the families of the children that continue to have daily challenges, but with the care from Shriners Hospital may they find hope for a speedy recovery.”

Eliesse Jakotich will be a sixth-grader this fall.

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