“She was never supposed to be born,” explains Ron Bullis of his daughter, Ella. Yet, on Jan. 2, 2007, she was -- three and a half months early.
Ella was born prematurely and went from delivery right to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Spectrum Health. Her parents gave watch steadfastly -- alternating turns to take care of Lily, their 16-month-old daughter.
“It was an anomaly,” remembers Bullis of Ella’s circumstance. Despite all of the typical indicators, Ella was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis at 18 days old, a condition for which there is no known cause or cure. An hour after her surgery to try and beat the odds, Ella died in arms of her parents.
It was a dark time. Bullis lost his child, soon thereafter his marriage and ultimately his business.
“I didn’t go back for a year,” conveys Bullis about his return the NICU. But when he did, he remembered all of the other families undergoing similar situations. “What can I do to start my healing process,” Bullis questioned, “And, what can I do to help these families?”
With premature birth rates on the rise and Kent County having one of the highest pre-term birth rates, it wasn’t long before Bullis founded the Ellis Bullis Foundation. In July 2008, Bullis was named president of the organization and was on a mission to lessen the strain on those enduring life in a hospital due to a premature birth.
As a testament to his service, Bullis was recently honored by Northwestern Mutual Foundation as one of the 25 “2011 Outstanding Volunteers." Along with that award, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation made a $10,000 dollar grant to the Ella Bullis Foundation to continue their work in aiding families with a child in Spectrum Health’s NICU.
Whether it’s meal passes, pre-paid cell phones or even hotel vouchers, the Ella Bullis Foundation ensures that families do not need to worry about financial concerns or leaving their child’s side. Instead, they can focus on their child.
Be a do-gooder and help the Ella Bullis Foundation with their efforts to support families with a child in the neonatal intensive care. Here’s how:
• “Like” on facebook
• Visit their newly launched website
• Learn about current families
• Become a board member
• Attend an upcoming events
Source: Ron Bullis, Ella Bullis Foundation
Writer: Jennifer Wilson, Do Good Editor