An Missouri neighborhood association has defended its decision to deny a playhouse to a 6-year-old girl who is suffering from leukemia.
Pete Schultz told The Oklahoman that his daughter, Ella Joe, has been struggling just to stay alive in her fight against acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The family has called hospice on two occasions, and her survival chances dropped below 5 percent at one point.
Ella Joe’s aunt took her story to Make-A-Wish Missouri. And the organization granted her request for a playhouse with bedrooms, an upstairs, a dishwasher and a telephone.
But after workers showed up, the Stonegate Homeowners Association (HOA) put a stop to construction, saying that the structure violated neighborhood rules.
“I don’t get it,” Schultz lamented. “She’s earned this — she deserves it. She can’t get out and play with other kids. This playhouse is what she would have. Is it really going to hurt someone?”
Schultz recalled his daughter’s reaction when he broke the news that she wouldn’t be getting her playhouse.
“I just explained to her the reason I’d been on the phone and I had been talking to a lot of people,” he said, adding that his daughter broke down in tears.
After the story went viral on social media, the HOA said in a statement that it would reconsider the request.
“Our hearts are with Ella Schultz and her family as they battle this terrible illness. Our homeowners’ association board is committed to working with Make-A-Wish Foundation and J.E. Dunn to see if we can figure out a way to make Ella’s wish come true,” the statement noted. “The initial request from Make-A-Wish to place a barn-style shed was not accepted because the board did not have enough information to grant an exception to the subdivision’s covenants.”
On Tuesday, a fever and infection forced Ella Joe to return to the hospital.
Watch the video below from KCTV, broadcast March 5, 2015.