CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — This Thursday, CBS3 will present our 12th annual Ronald McDonald House Charities Telethon. We call it “Give a Little Love,” and we’ll be raising money to help the four Ronald McDonald Houses in the Philadelphia area.
The charity helps children like Elisabet who, like thousands of children, come to this region to receive top-notch medical care.
Imagine having to travel to a foreign country, a place where customs are unfamiliar and languages are different, to get much-needed help.
Meet 9-year-old Elisabet Raudales, or as she likes to be called Ely.
“I dance regueton, I dance dembow and I dance punta,” Elisabet told CBS3 before showing off some of her impressive moves.
Like all 9-year-old girls, she lights up when she talks about the dance battles she often has with her younger brother. The smiles continues as she lists all of the new friends she’s made at the Ronald McDonald house.
Elisabet, along with her mother and grandmother, have traveled more than 2,000 miles from Tegucigalpa, Honduras to the Ronald McDonald house in Camden, New Jersey. That’s where they have been living while Ely awaits her upcoming back surgery.
“It’s been a challenge as a mother and for our family because of her condition, you have to be attentive every single day because she could easily fracture her bones at any time,” mother Fanny Raudales said.
Elisabet was diagnosed with a severe form of osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. Ely’s bones break or fracture easily. In her young life, doctor visits have become a constant.
“It’s hard, because when I bump into things it hurts and I have to go to the doctor,” Elisabet said.
Despite her condition, Ely is a constant source of positive energy, her grandmother proudly said. She’s loves to dance and swim. She’s fluent in both Spanish and English and currently learning how to speak Portuguese. Standing at only 3 feet tall, there is nothing small about Ely’s bright and gigantic personality.
The Ronald McDonald House opened their doors to Ely and her family last year. She’s been traveling back and forth when she receives treatments and other medical care that’s not accessible to her in Honduras.
“My experience in this house is beautiful because in this house, we have all that we need,” Elisabet said, adding, “Like food, the laundry to wash the clothes, and we have a bed.”
Our “Give a Little Love” telethon is this Thursday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. right here on CBS3.