Coffee-table collision turns child into entrepreneur to help other children

Staff Writer

 Ellie Mashkevich Ellie Mashkevich One little girl’s accident has resulted in comfort for other hospitalized children.

Ellie Mashkevich, 7, of Millstone Township, is a spirited child. She loves to sing, dance, practice gymnastics and play all sorts of games around her house. In November 2009, she spun around on a living room chair a little too fast and her head collided with the coffee table.

“I was spinning around on the chair, trying to grab the coffee table and I hit my head,” Ellie said. “The gash was big. It looked like it should be gushing blood, but it wasn’t, really.”

Dr. Janet Parler, of CentraState Medical Center, Freehold Township, applied 25 stitches to suture Ellie’s wound. Ellie considered herself fortunate when test results confirmed that she had no other serious injuries and the doctor told her she could go home the same night.

Having to wait for the test results proved to be the most trying feat for Ellie that day. Her mother, Jessica, said Ellie could not wait to get out of the hospital. As Jessica tried to calm down her anxious daughter, she spoke to Ellie about other children in the hospital.

“I told her how lucky she is to be going home the same night and that there are some kids in the hospital that have to stay for longer periods of time to receive treatments for diseases or cancer,” Jessica said.

A couple of days later, while she was still healing from her injury, Ellie started gathering things in her room. When her mother asked her what she was doing, Ellie told her she wanted to donate her toys to children who had to stay in the hospital.

Jessica recognized the sentiment and presented Ellie with a different idea. She told her daughter that she could do something to raise money for the hospital’s pediatric unit.

Ellie grabbed her backpack and started filling it with nail polish. She told her mother that she would give manicures and pedicures to people who donated money.

“I told her, ‘You go, girl!’ ” Jessica said, and thus was born Ellie’s You Go, Girl! Salon Store and More, a mobile nail salon.

Ellie began painting nails on the bleachers at her brother Ben’s baseball practices and games in the spring and summer of 2010.

“It took me three days to get $60,” Ellie said. “But it made me feel good inside.”

Her mother and father, Vlad, were proud of her efforts.

“She was in kindergarten when she did all this,” Jessica said. “Such a tiny body with big ideas.”

Ellie raised more than $100, which she donated to CentraState’s pediatric services. CentraState Healthcare Foundation Vice President of Development Roman Lucky said her thoughtful gift had a direct impact on the enhanced quality and compassionate health care services provided to the hospital’s youngest patients and their families.

“What a remarkable youngster Ellie is,” Lucky said. “Her desire to help others, after having been through a medical emergency herself, is a testament to her strength and kindheartedness. It is wonderful to see youngsters of any age get involved and work for a cause.”

CentraState published Ellie’s story in the May/June issue of its “Healthy Directions” magazine. One day during class at the Millstone Township Primary School, a substitute teacher showed Ellie’s classmates the article.

“All of the kids said, ‘You’re famous,’ ” Ellie said.

However, Ellie said she did not raise the money for fame.

“I did it to help other people,” she said.

An aspiring gymnast and vocalist, Ellie prefers to get acclaim for her performances on the mat and the stage. Most recently she performed in “Seussical the Musical” at the Millstone Performing Arts Center. She also starred in “Millstone’s Got Talent” two years in a row.

Ellie also recently got another big idea when her family called the animal control officer to remove a stray cat from the yard. She decided to undertake another charitable effort and is currently operating a lemonade stand to raise money for Popcorn Park Zoo Animal Rescue and Sanctuary.