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Community rallies round courageous Ellie


Active 9-year-old Ellie Weight is immobile and in isolation at Auckland's Starship Hospital today after contracting septisemic Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

MRSA is a type of staph bacteria or super

bug that has become immune to almost all medical treatments and can kill.


It's in Ellie's bloodstream, has taken hold of her hips and pelvis and has seeded in one knee joint and both elbows.


Parents Rolf and Karen Weight were first aware of Ellie's pain on September 11 after she began complaining of a sore quad muscle and assumed it was from a recent cross country event.

The next day the pain had become worse and Ellie was taken to Dargaville Medical Centre where she was sent to have an ultrasound.

A series of tests revealed fluid on the hips which s

uggested an infection and she was taken to Whangarei Hospital.

She was in so much agony dad Rolf knew something serious was wrong.


"I pushed for another ultrasound and a full musculoskeletal ultrasound was carried out. The results sent Ellie into theatre."

Meanwhile Karen was in Auckland with her father who has bowel cancer and was having surgery on his liver. Regardless of whether there was another ultraso

und, she and Rolf had decided to take Ellie back to A & E in Wh



So Karen left her father's side and drove straight to Ellie's. From the radiology clinic they returned to Whangarei Hospital and Ellie was immediately taken to ICU then into surgery with a serious infection in her left hip.

Rolf and Karen are very thankful for the treatment they received, Ellie was seen by seven doctors. "We only have praise for all the doctors.

"If that scan didn't happen, Ellie would not be here, she was in so much pain that I knew we needed to do something urgently. I would have gone anywhere for an earlier scan if we didn't get that one," he said.

The first set of antibiotics failed and on September 25 Ellie was choppered to the paediatric intensive care unit at Starship Hospital in Auckland. By now she was on five pain killers including morphine, tramadol and codeine and still in excruciating pain.


Ellie cannot move and is turned every few hours to prevent pressure sores.

Rolf describes feeling helpless and wanting to make the situation better for Ellie, "When your child is in that position you'll do anything to make it better. We asked Ellie if she wanted anything what would it be, she said, ‘nothing, just Uncle Craig'."

Rolf's twin Craig is captain of one of the royal family's superboats in Qatar and after showing a video posted on Facebook to the fleet manager the boat was stood-down until another captain could arrive.


Rolf and Karen say there are no words to explain their gratitude.


"The whole world has got behind our girl," he said.

The couple would like to thank Debbie and Grant Suckling and Pauline and Grant Taylor for looking after their sons while the couple is taking care of Ellie.

Karen's friend of 13 years, Corine Leach, set up the online Facebook page, Our Sweet Ellie, to help connect people to Ellie and her family.

"We would also like to thank Whangarei ICU and Starship who have been amazing," Karen said. Rolf is astounded at his wife's resilience.
"There is no other woman like her, she is incredible," he said.
Karen has now been away from home for 3 weeks.

The couple is amazed at the community response.

"We live in the best community we've ever come across, we cannot express our gratitude for the Dargaville community," Rolf said.


Friends have contacted Lorde and Taylor Swift and television programme 4:30 sent a gigantic "bouquet" of prizes to the hospital.


A group of Ellie's friends got together and baked cakes to sell. They raised $326 and banked it for Ellie's cause.

There have also been raffle tickets and an auction was held at clothing and giftware store L.U.L.A on Sunday.


Doctors say Ellie will be there until the end of January, if not longer, and are unsure on the long term impact on Ellie.

Neither parent knows when they will be able to return to work.

"Ellie is a fighter - loving, affectionate and selfless character who even in extreme pain will reach out to cuddle friends and family," he said.


Ellie has had eight operations to date. She is now scheduled for a MRI scan. - Dargaville News