As a reporter, I encourage a two-way conversation with people so they’re not the only ones answering questions. Two of the most frequent questions I get from people are: 1) How is Ellen doing? 2) Does she still have Rosebud?
I’m blessed that I can tell them both Ellen and Rosebud are healthy and happy. Ellen, who was diagnosed with leukemia at age 5, has marked her 11th year of being cancer-free. She is an active junior at Larimore (N.D.) High School, involved in cross country, FFA and student council, besides being an altar server and reader at St. Stephen Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, we celebrated the 11th birthday of Rosebud, Ellen’s golden retriever, this month. Rosebud is much whiter around the muzzle than she was when Ellen received her after her 2008 Make-A-Wish trip to the set of Santa Buddies, but she still is the sweet, friendly dog that Ellen fell in love with.
Although, Rosebud’s movie days are long behind her, she still has some celebrity appearances on her calendar. Last spring, for example she accompanied Ellen to LHS during a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish North Dakota, and Rosebud was there so students could see the power of a wish. Thanks to the generosity of LHS students, Make-A-Wish North Dakota received a donation of about $1,000.
This summer, Make-A-Wish North Dakota asked Ellen if she could make an appearance on television and do a radio interview about her why she wanted to raise money for the organization. Rosebud was with her on both trips to the studios, KVLY-TV in Fargo and 1340 AM- Radio, in Grafton, N.D.
Both Ellen and Rosebud were poised and professional during their interviews. Ellen answered her questions clearly and confidently and Rosebud lay quietly at her feet. The pair have met hundreds of people during the past 11 years and are used to the limelight.
Although, Ellen doesn’t seek attention nor really want to be the center of it, she pushes her introverted personality aside when she is asked to talk about an organization from which she has benefited. Rosebud, meanwhile, loves people so the more hands out to pet her, the better.
Watching Ellen and Rosebud during interviews and witnessing the bond they share is a manifestation of how God is all good. It also shows how, though, we often can’t see anything positive when we’re in the midst of a trying time, it becomes clear later.
I would never have wished for Ellen to have cancer, but I know now hers -- and our family’s life -- would have been much different if she had not. She, and we, likely wouldn’t have had as strong of a faith in God, less understanding of the need to have Him at the center of our family life, and not as much compassion for others who are undergoing life’s trials. Meanwhile, Rosebud wouldn’t have been part of Ellen’s life, something that’s hard for her and the rest of our family to imagine.
As Romans says: “”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I am sometimes guilty of forgetting that when I hit a big bump in the road, but, fortunately, have a daily reminder in the forms of Ellen and Rosebud.