Palm Harbor sports restaurant throws fundraiser party for special needs kid

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – Hours before she had lunch with her parents at the Varsity Club in Palm Harbor, 3-year-old Ella Kepner was in the doctor’s office having casts put on both of her legs.

“They took the old casts off and they put new casts on to try to stretch her ankles even more than they did the last time,” said Ella’s father Sam Kepner.

Ella suffered a brain injury after a doctor removed her tonsils over a year ago. The injury requires her to wear casts on both legs.

“She was a year and a half and she just went in for a routine tonsillectomy,” said Sam as he played one of Ella’s favorite music videos and watched her laugh.

The Kepner’s brought Ella to the Varsity Club to celebrate the 4th of July holiday and receive money from the owner that was raised to help the family pay off some of the mounting medical bills. The family has been billed nearly $30,000 for her treatment thus far.

Each year, Drew Bartenope, the restaurant’s owner, picks a family from the community to receive an award. He says after he took one look at Ella, he knew what he had to do.

“There is a picture of her on their go fund me page and that was it. It was done. It was a home run,” Bartenope said.

The Kepner’s set up a Go Fund Me and ask for anyone who wants to help Ella and the family pay for what they believe will be medical bills for the rest of her life to go to the following link and donate.

Ella’s Therapy Fund


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