Monday, May 16, 2016

Meet Ellie

There was a huge lump in my throat Sunday morning as I posted the following article and video on Ruby Girl. I was a little nervous and a lot emotional. But there has been a spirit driving this thing since the day I met Ellie.

Let me introduce you to Ellie Heiden. In her own words, she was "that person no one thought would amount to anything."

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Boy were they wrong.

First, a little backstory.

Last summer our sweet Eliza was diagnosed with dyseidetic dyslexia. A form of dyslexia in which she has a solid understanding of phonics and can read on grade level, but her brain has trouble re-visualizing words as an integrated whole. We have been on a steep and sometimes frustrating learning curve as we've tried to figure out all that this means and what kind of assistance she needs.

A couple months ago when I was feeling worried and in need of new help, my good friend Elizabeth felt inspired to introduce us to Ellie and her mom, Joanna.

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Ellie also has dyslexia, but she has overcome incredible odds. Her story is both heartbreaking and amazing. It will change you. It did me. In really important ways.

We launched Ruby Girl, a website for teenage girls, last month. (By we, I mean Michelle Lehnardt, who designed the website and has been our editor in chief. She has done a phenomenal job.) If you have a minute, read Michelle's welcome post and watch the video with Elaine Dalton. It will give you a good feel for what we are hoping to accomplish with Ruby Girl. 

When I was telling Michelle about Ellie, we both knew at the same moment, we needed Ellie's story on Ruby Girl.

When I asked Eliza if she'd like to do the interview, she immediately said yes. I am so proud of her for being willing to come up with all the questions, ask them, and talk about her dyslexia. This was extremely brave and courageous. For both Ellie and Eliza. But you will see in the video how much Eliza loves Ellie and looks up to her. She has become a bright star in Eliza's life. I love them both so much my heart can hardly handle it.

Here is the intro video we ran on Instagram. 

Click over to Ruby Girl for the full video and story. And please share. Ellie's message is one we want everyone to hear. 

Doug and I were traveling this weekend so we weren't able to be home with Eliza when this posted, to weather the response with her, which has been overwhelming on social media. In fact, she just saw the finished video for the first time tonight. 

She is still a little worried about it. That kids might make fun of her, that she won't know how to explain what dyslexia is if someone asks. Because it's different for everyone who has it. It can be mild, severe, or in between, and it comes in different forms. But I stroked her hair tonight and held her head in my lap as we talked. 

Every person on this earth, I told her, whether they have a learning challenge, a health problem, grief, sorrow, loss, hurt, embarrassment, guilt, or frustration. No matter what challenge they are facing, this message can help. Because Ellie teaches us so powerfully that the Lord, when we ask Him, can turn any weakness into strength. Eliza believes this to be true. And she wants to help.

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So off you go. I am positive you'll love Ellie as much as we do. 

1 comment:

  1. Jacqueline here...I have never heard of this sort of dyslexia and wondered if this makes it more difficult for Eliza to spell and write? With such wonderful parents, she will certainly get the help she needs and go on to make this stumbling block a stepping stone. Best wishes, Eliza. Now that you know what the problem is, you are half way there to fixing it!


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