A 3-year-old who has been battling brain cancer most of her life has received hundreds of cards from around the world.
Ellie Walton, from Spanaway, Washington, has been undergoing treatment since shortly after her birth, but her spirits have never fallen thanks in part to the well wishes from strangers, her family told InsideEdition.com.
Her mom, Sarah Walton, posted a request on the Prayers for Ellie Walton Facebook page: "This little girl has been fighting brain cancer for almost three years now, and her one wish is to get postcards from all over the world."
Within a month, Ellie has received over 500 postcards from people as far as South Africa, Fiji, and Guatemala.
Her sister Ava, 7, sits down and reads each postcard to Ellie as they arrive, Walton said. Ava originally had plans to paste an enormous map of the world on a wall in their house to display the postcards, but Sarah has since then encouraged her daughters to create a smaller-scale scrapbook with the postcards.
"Ellie sees pictures from kids [who send the cards], and she calls them her friends," Walton said.
Ellie's favorites so far have been the ones from Hawaii. Walton said that Ellie exclaims, "Hawaii!" everytime she sees one in the mail, especially when the postcard has an image of a dolphin.
When the Make-a-Wish foundation asked Ellie what she wanted, the answer was clear. Walton told IE.com that they depart for Hawaii on April 1, where Ellie will go swimming with the dolphins.
Ellie's 'journey around the world' began when she was 4 months old, and her mom noticed a bulge on her head. She had taken her to multiple doctors who brushed it off, until one doctor finally asked the family to get the bump tested.
Ellie underwent her first 9-and-a-half hour surgery that same day.
"It was extremely overwhelming," Walton said to IE.com.
What the surgeon told her was most likely benign turned out to be a malignant tumor. Within four months, Ellie had to undergo her second brain surgery, and started chemotherapy at 8 months old.
Since then, she has had 17 surgeries, including 13 brain surgeries. Ellie has developed a glioblastoma tumor in the latest mutation of the cancer, and is currently on oral chemotherapy, as well as two IV chemotherapies.
"She has the odds against her, but she's doing really well for someone who has gone through as much as she has," Walton said. "She bounces back so fast [after surgery]...she's surprisingly well."