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Ellis surprised with graduation ceremony

Julie Ellis raised her fist in celebration of receiving her diploma during the surprise graduation ceremony in her honor at the Bertha-Hewitt School on June 1.

by Trinity Gruenberg

Bertha-Hewitt graduate Julie Ellis had practiced for weeks with her therapist to be able to walk across the stage for her graduation ceremony.

Ellis has osteogenesis imperfecta, brittle bone disease. After much practice, she thought she would be able to walk with her classmates at her high school graduation.

“I was determined to walk for graduation and walk across the stage to get my diploma,” explained Ellis.

Walking out at the beginning of the original graduation ceremony on May 28, Ellis felt the tibia in her right leg snap. She steadied herself with her left leg. It fractured in two places in her left femur above the knee and fibula. Ellis collapsed to the floor and people quickly rushed to her aid.

“I looked up and saw everybody and got embarrassed and I was like, just get me out of this place,” shared Ellis.

“She didn’t cry. She didn’t scream. She said ‘I did it bad. I broke them both,’” said mother Mindy Ellis.

In hopes of still participating in the ceremony, attempts were made to stabilize her legs, but the pain was just too great and she had to be taken to the hospital. She had to miss her own graduation.

Ellis was taken to Gillette Children’s Hospital where her legs were splinted. As Ellis and her family worked on her health, the school worked on planning a surprise graduation re-do for her. . .

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