Ella Mae Guillory, my mother and best friend, had rheumatic fever as a young child. Rheumatic fever most commonly affects children aged 5 to 15 years old. Neurologic complications are more common in females. The symptoms of rheumatic fever are rapid heart rate, decreased ability to exercise, joint pain and swelling, fever, abdominal pain, swollen tonsils, red skin rash, nausea and vomiting, headache, sore throat, uncontrollable twitching and movements. The inflammation of the heart can lead to chest pain, palpitations, a sensation that the heart is fluttering or pounding hard, panting, and shortness of breath, and fatigue. Symptoms can also include inappropriate crying or laughing. The inflammation causes permanent damage to the heart, most commonly the mitral valve, the valve between the upper and lower chambers of the left side of the heart.
This can lead to:
Valvular stenosis: The valve narrows, causing a decrease in blood flow.
Valvular regurgitation: Blow flows in the wrong direction because of a leak.
Heart muscle damage: Inflammation weakens the heart muscle so that the heart cannot pump properly.
Ella’s Heart Foundation desires to educate and bring of awareness to the prevention of rheumatic fever. It is conservatively estimated that there are over 15 million cases of rheumatic disease worldwide, 282,000 new cases and 233,000 deaths annually with no existing cure. The importance of creating awareness of the disease cannot be underestimated, particularly in limited resource-limited conditions. Ella’s Heart Foundation will focus on education for early prevention and control methods that can help people recognize that this is a global health problem.
Ella had multiple missed diagnoses due to complications of rheumatic fever disease (heart disease) and it was a tragic consequence. Ella’s Heart Foundation will strongly raise awareness, prevention and health promotion strategies and control programs.
Ella was not afforded the privilege to continue her education beyond high school. She encouraged academics. And, had a passion for helping students achieve higher education. Most days she was not allowed to go to school due to her complications of rheumatic fever, and at other times she was told that her pencil was on the fence. In other, words go to work in the fields. She often worked in the fields “From can’t see, to can’t see. She worked extremely hard to support her four children on a cook’s salary to get everyone through college and graduate school and beyond. It is Ella’s Heart Foundation’s honor and desire, to help provide students with the finances to pursue higher education. Since higher education provides students with more freedom to pursue a career that inspires, interest and generate greater cultural awareness. Ella’s Heart Foundation has made a decision to provide the benefit of higher education. This will be achieved through the Ella’s heart foundation, Inc. in Ella’s honor.
Ella also had a passion to see all children smile and have them visit zoos, aquariums, safari camps and museums. These visits would provide children memorable, immersive learning experiences, provoke imagination, introduce unknown worlds and subject matter, and offer unique environments for quality time. A chance to connect, understand, and explore perceptions, feelings, and innovative thoughts. It will also provide a space for reflection, experimentation, inspiration, creativity, enjoyment and allow authentic learning experiences and play. Funding these activities through Ella’s Heart Foundation will put all children on equal standing.
Ella’s Heart foundation is partnered with and donates to the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women. Which provides educational awareness and research for heart disease and stroke.
Ella’s Heart foundation is also sponsor of the American Red Cross blood drive. Last Year we provided three scholarship to students at Florida Central University to travel to Russia. We worked with Columbia Residential-holiday event and provided 1100 toys and 500 coats to children in attendance.