DCS community supports the Margraf family through cancer diagnosis


Used with permission from Erin Margraf

Ella Margraf rings the cancer-free bell after her last round of chemotherapy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Kaitlyn Gorsuch, Editor-in-Chief

Ella Margraf is a 9 year old who attends Delaware City Schools, who was diagnosed with Stage 2 Burkitt Lymphoma. On Jan. 11, Ella was able to ring the cancer free bell at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Burkitt Lymphoma is a rare and highly aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Ella’s mom, Erin Margraf, is an intervention specialist at Hayes, as well as the head girls’ basketball coach. She has been teaching for 19 years and stepped away when Ella was diagnosed.
“I plan to return to teaching and activities as soon as my daughter Ella is released to do the same,” Margraf said in an email interview. “We hope this will be before the end of 3rd quarter.”
The diagnosis occurred when Ella had a tonsillectomy after suffering from a swollen lymph node for around a month.
“The pathology report came back irregular and we were asked to go directly to Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed with Stage 2 Burkitt Lymphoma,” Margraf said. “Cancer was found in her right lymph node and her right tonsil only – it did not spread to other parts of her body.”
Ella’s Fight Club is an organization that was created by her aunts, uncles and cousins, to show support for Ella and her battle.
“This idea continued to grow in size and strength as extended family, friends, co-workers, teammates, classmates and community members learned of Ella’s diagnosis,” Margraf said. “This has been a wonderful way of showing support, without being physically present as we pushed forward in this journey. We are so grateful for all who have contributed to #Ellasfightclub.”
Senior Natalie Hohman decided to organize a volleyball game that would benefit Ella and her family.
“She was one of my campers for volleyball camp, and a lot of people in my family have had cancer, so I just knew that doing something for them would be good. They’re such an important part of Delaware so I thought that would be fun,” Hohman said.
The volleyball game, which was students versus teachers and included players from the girls’ and boys’ volleyball teams in addition to teachers from around the district.
“I went through her aunt and asked [the Margrafs] for permission to organize the event and then Mr. Glesenkamp and I set a date,” Hohman said. “I talked to Dr. Stranges about the event and then it was just like lots of emailing and making forms for players and teachers to fill out, sending out lots of emails.”
Many students and community members attended the event to show their support for Ella and her family, including sophomore Natalie Madden, who was one of the volleyball players for the event.
“I was really surprised with the amount [of people] that showed up,” Madden said. “I was just really thankful that we had so many people that were willing to come, and the players did a really good job of spreading the word.”
The game raised over $1800 to support the Margrafs and took place on Jan. 12, a day after Ella completed her last scheduled round of chemotherapy, where she got to ring the cancer free bell on the way out of the hospital.
“Ella is doing well,” Margraf said. “After three full rounds of chemotherapy, Ella’s scans came back cancer free, right before Christmas. This was the best Christmas present we could have asked for … She has another scan at the end of January, but she is finished with chemotherapy and is not scheduled for any more hospital admissions.”
Ella is looking forward to getting back to school and the activities she is a part of, like basketball, softball and outdoor activities, but due to her therapy regimen, these activities have been put on a pause, Margraf said.
“A sincere thank you to all students, staff, administration and community members who have sent positive thoughts, prayers and support our way,” Margraf said. “We appreciate and love our Pacer Family.”