SWFL Children’s Charities Eye Center helps young liver transplant patient

Published: January 18, 2022 5:18 AM EST
Updated: January 18, 2022 10:29 AM EST

A girl in Fort Myers had to undergo a liver transplant as a 4-year-old and still has to see a handful of doctors every month.

Ella Palinchak was born with a rare genetic disease called alagille syndrome, which affects her brain, heart, eyes and face. For the first few years of her life, Ella and her mom, Joanna, went back and forth between Fort Myers and Miami to see doctors.

“I was the bedside parent at the time,” Palinchak said. “By choice, I was working full-time, my husband was also working full-time. And I think it was actually harder for him not to be bedside and for me to be putting him on speakerphone when the doctors come in.”

But thanks to the Southwest Florida Children’s Charities Eye Center of Golisano Children’s Hospital, Ella can see at least some of her doctors near her home, making it so much easier for her mom, dad and twin to all be together. The eye center is funded by the non-profit Southwest Florida Children’s Charities, Inc.

The charity’s largest fundraiser is on Saturday, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest sponsored by WINK News’ partners at Gulfshore Life. You can buy tickets or donate online.

The event will begin at noon and a live auction will begin at 2:30 p.m. on the Florida SouthWestern State College campus, located at 8099 College Parkway in Fort Myers.