IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. – A viral infection that initially struck a 2-year-old child just before Halloween has affected another Kingsford family. Ella, a teenage girl on the cusp of her 16th birthday, had to be airlifted to UW Wisconsin Children’s hospital. WZMQ discussed the situation with Ella’s mother, Hannah Antilla.
WZMQ: “Did you follow Ezra’s story at all?”
Antilla: “Yes, actually, what he’s going through is exactly what she’s going through, so…”
WZMQ: “So this kind of thing can happen at any age?”
Antilla: “I guess so, yeah. I’ve never really heard of it before, but she ended up having an autoimmune reaction to a viral infection that she had. She had the hand, foot, and mouth virus that was going around town.”
WZMQ: “Okay, so it’s the same virus?”
“Yes,” Antilla responded, adding, “So we ended up, she has a seizure disorder. She has juvenile epilepsy, and she had started with some extra seizures. We thought it was related to that, and maybe possible medication interactions, but come to find out the seizures she was having were just a symptom, and we were at our hospital when they decided to life flight us to Madison Children’s Hospital.”
Ella, an active member of her high school’s choir, required a month of specialized care and is finally back home, but her recovery journey is far from over.
Iron Mountain’s Maxx Entertainment Center has stepped up to help the family, organizing a benefit to cover the mounting medical expenses. WZMQ reached out to the Maxx Entertainment Event Coordinator, who preferred to be known as ‘Moon Ryder,’ to understand how the community could contribute.
“There may be something somebody can offer to do that’s not monetary. If it doesn’t come in a basket, those things are certainly appreciated too,” stated ‘Ryder’. The coordinator shared that over 20 local businesses have contributed gift baskets for raffles and prizes. A few of the contributing businesses include: Step Ahead Boots and Clothing, the Pizza Oven, and Bizzy Bee’s Sweets and Treats. The Kingsford School Choir has helped raise some money toward Ella’s benefit as well.
Ella is showing signs of improvement. Her voice was beginning to re-emerge, and she was even planning to return to school on a part-time basis. WZMQ wanted to shed light on Ella’s personality and music taste.
Antilla describes her daughter as being a quirky girl with a dark sense of humor.
“Well, like when we were down there in the midst of everything, you know, just she would have trouble talking, getting words out, things like that just her voice was really flat. Just not her normal quirky personality with the sassy, sarcastic comments, you know. So those are definitely coming back, and I’m really happy to see that,” Antilla shared.
Ella herself chimed in with her favorite music genre: metal. “The scarier, the better, and she’s just all about that metal music,” Antilla mentioned. Ella made it known who her current favorite metal band is: Mayhem.
Curious about the Maxx Entertainment Center’s awareness of Ella’s preferences, WZMQ spoke with Dave Fraser, the venue owner.
“Well, I didn’t, but we’ll definitely try to keep that in mind. Last night we did a Metallica song, and a couple of heavier ones that pushed me to my drumming limit, so we’ll do what we can,” Fraser responded. Fraser is planning to invite over 30 local musicians for an impromptu open mic jam in honor of Ella throughout the day.
Ella’s benefit event, scheduled for this Saturday from 5 to 8 PM central at Maxx Entertainment, promises to continue into the evening as long as the live musicians play on.
In a heartening update, the two-year-old who was also severely affected by the same virus was released from the children’s hospital yesterday.
For Ella’s GoFundme Page, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ella-antilla-and-family
Ella’s mother is a baker, and owner of Bizzy Bee Sweets & Treats. She will be providing items for a bake sale at Ella’s benefit, including Ella’s favorite: S’mores bars. For more on Hannah Antilla’s bakery visit: