Rockwall girl raises money to mend ‘sick hearts’

Ella Turner ‘jumps right in’ to help others, in memory of her little sister, Colby

Ella Turner, Jump Rope for Heart
Seven-year-old Ella Turner of Rockwall is raising money through Jump Rope for Heart, in memory of her little sister, Colby. Photo submitted by Neil Turner.

Last year Ella Turner of Rockwall amazed friends, family and an entire community by raising more than $5,700 for Jump Rope for Heart – setting the record as the No. 1 fundraising campaigner in Texas, and No. 10 in the entire nation.

Ella was only in kindergarten at the time, but she was driven by the memory of her little sister, Colby, and a desire to mend children with “sick hearts.”

Ella’s determination to make a difference is inspiring others to join the cause again this year. Her father, Neil Turner, reports that seven-year-old Ella is “off to a great start” in her effort to raise at least $2,500 for the 2012 American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart campaign.

“Last year Ella signed up as a first time Jump Rope for Heart participant and set an incredibly high goal. She wanted to raise $1,000 in memory of her little sister, Colby. It was far more money than I thought she could raise, but I turned out to be wrong. Way wrong,” Neil writes on Ella’s fundraising page.

Ella’s efforts, and the inspiration behind it, drew a lot of media attention and community support in 2011, and Ella admits she is unsure if this year’s goal is too high or too low.

Neil writes, “Having experienced the impact she made last year, Ella is eager to help out again. She is a little worried that her story won’t get as much response the second time around, but she also knows there are a lot of people who are anxious to support her, including some that didn’t get the opportunity to last year.”

He added, “What she is sure about is just like last year, all she really wants is a chance to try – a chance to do her best to help kids with sick hearts.”

It’s just in Ella’s nature to want to help. At group functions you’ll find her serving food and filling drinks. When she tags along with us to volunteer events, she jumps right in. Wherever we are, she is happy when she is being helpful. – Neil Turner, dad

When Ella is asked how she feels about her fundraising success, she often replies, “I like helping kids with sick hearts.”

Ella’s dad further articulates what drives his daughter to do what she does:

Colby Turner, Jump Rope for Heart
Colby Turner suffered from Geleophysic Dysplasia, a rare condition that can affect the heart, bones, joints, and skin. Photo submitted by Neil Turner.

“At the age of five, Ella learned the pain of losing someone she loved. Not only is that pain very personal for her, she has watched her parents and many others who love Colby suffer with her loss. That is a lot for anyone to take, much less a five-year-old,” Neil writes.

“So at 6 she heard about the American Heart Association and how they work to help prevent and treat heart disease. She may not understand the many facets of heart disease, but she understands the pain it can cause. So when she hears the AHA helps those people of course she wants to help. She wants to help others avoid going through what we are going through.”

Neil shares more of Ella and Colby’s story on the Jump Rope for Heart fundraising page, where donations can be made in Colby’s memory.

Information provided by Neil Turner, Ella’s dad, of Rockwall; edited for publication by Blue Ribbon News, all rights reserved. 

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2 Responses to "Rockwall girl raises money to mend ‘sick hearts’"

  1. Pingback: Rockwall girl jumps to to the top in fundraising efforts, in memory of little sister | Blue Ribbon News

  2. Editor   January 24, 2012 12:54 PM at 12:54 PM

    If you are reading this story and wish to help spread the word for Ella, please consider LIKING our FB page at The more likes we get, the more people we can reach, and the more we’ll be able to make a difference! Thank you!

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