After moving from Rapid City to Le Mars, IA, Judy Marienau took her daughter in to the doctor for tiredness and pale skin. That appointment turned into an ambulance ride to Sanford Children’s in Sioux Falls. After arriving at the castle, she was soon diagnosed with High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Having endured surgeries, aggressive chemotherapy and radiation, countless pokes, several blood transfusions and the loss of her hair, Elsie has remained a trooper. Though she hasn’t always gotten to go to school as often as she would like, her new classmates (and the entire school) have welcomed her as one of their own, making her feel welcome and loved. Not long after the beginning of school, they made her a paper quilt, which will be cherished for years to come. They are amazed at the prayers and gifts they receive constantly from strangers. What a welcome to this new community!
Her brother Henry is a fierce protector of his little sister, but it’s sometimes hard for a little boy when his sister garners so much attention and special treatment. But he understands why and he is very close to his little sister.
They refer to the staff at Sanford Children’s as “our team” and are appreciative of the care they provide. They say that the doctors, nurses and all caregivers make them feel like Elsie is their only patient, though they know they have so many others as well.