7-year-old Shriners patient gives back

Emily wearing many of her handmade bracelets.
Emily wearing many of her handmade bracelets.

PERRYSBURG, OH (Toledo News Now) – The Zenobia Shrine Jeepsters Christmas party was held Friday night in Perrysburg.

The night was all about beads – "Beads 4 Needs." The guest of honor was 7-year-old Emily Mellish.

Mellish has had 16 surgeries at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Erie, Penn. to correct her left leg that was six inches shorter than her right since birth. She was born with spina bifida and severe scoliosis.

Doctors are successfully working to straighten, strengthen and lengthen Mellish's leg.

"We are very blessed as a family to have her. She's a wonderful child," said Emily's dad Thad Mellish. "[We] couldn't ask for more from the Shriners and it's great she's done something to give back to them."

Mellish is giving back by making and selling beaded bracelets to benefit Shriners hospitals. She likes to call her program "Beads 4 Needs." They've been sold from Fargo to Florida.

"They help us so much and we want to help, too," Mellish said. "We've raised over $6,000 and we're giving all the money to Shriners."

Mellish is a celebrity in Erie. All over town are billboards featuring her mile-wide smile. It's a reminder of the 22 Shriners hospitals across the country that are taking care of kids like Emily at no cost to their families.

"She's a success story," said Wally Powell of Zenobia Shrine. "We want people to know about it. We're one of the best-kept secrets."

And let it be known Emily's story is one of magic and miracle.

"Never give up. You have a determined spirit," said Mellish's mom Joy. "Someone says you can't prove them wrong and she does that every step of the way."

To buy one of Emily's bracelets, e-mail her at beads4needs@ymail.com.

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