Published February 2015 in the Antwerp Gazette (Gazet van Antwerpen / ‘De Frut’) – Antwerp & Flanders, Belgium
Dutch to English article translation…
Great solidarity for seriously ill children.
Where did Eleanor’s Song go?
Antwerp song disappeared after half a million views of Facebook
An Antwerp composer, together with a Texan singer, created a song for a sick girl from London: Eleanor’s Song. The song was viewed half a million times in a few days and shared 17,000 times on Facebook. And then it was taken off the Internet for unexplained reasons. Eleanor Stollery is three years old and lives in London. Eleanor is very sick. She has a brain tumour that presses on her optic nerve, which makes her unable to see properly. Apart from that, she’s an ordinary girl in an ordinary family. More than half a million people have learned to know Eleanor in the past few days via Twitter and Facebook.
“In September of last year, my wife Kelly and I noticed that our little girl was starting to see bad,” says father Tim Stollery. “She was also able to distinguish more and more than one. So we did what any parent would do: take her to the ophthalmologist. He didn’t mind, but after a long push, he referred us to eye specialists. Tests were conducted and tests were carried out, no one found anything. Eleanor’s condition got worse and worse. Finally, at the end of last year, we were able to make an appointment through the general practitioner at a specialised hospital” The Stollery family had since cancelled that appointment, because father Tim himself was a cancer patient and did not trust the case, he did not rest before an MRI scan was taken.
“It showed that Eleanor has a tumor the size of a ping-pong ball in the core of her brain. Almost impossible to operate. Had we known that before, the treatment could have started earlier and our daughter might not have been in such a bad way. The doctors didn’t give us much hope. She has a 30 percent chance of her eyesight improving.”, “via Twitter we started an awareness campaign. On the one hand, we want to make parents aware of the fact that they have to intervene immediately when those symptoms appear, and they should not stop until they are happy. When you wait for the symptoms that follow – balance disorder, vomiting, lethargy – it is often too late. We also want to shake up the British medical world. In their journals on this condition, sight loss in under-fives does is not even occur. It is in older children, but not with preschoolers. On the other hand, we want to collect as many messages as possible for Eleanor. They are a good one for her – and us. The feeling of not being alone is invaluable true.”
Eleanor’s campaign to gain as many followers as possible on Twitter was picked up by Texan David Roberts, lead singer of the heavy metal band Ravencroft. He told some of his fellow musicians. “David looks rough, but has a golden heart,” says Antwerp pianist-composer Wilfried Arens. “I got to know him through Show- case Your Music, a website where musicians from all over the world share their music. I suggested he make a song for Eleanor. He liked that right away. I sent him an mp3 file with the music I had composed. He made the lyrics, sang it in and mailed back the voice clip. I mixed voice and music and put the song last Saturday on my Facebook page, illustrated with pictures of Eleanor. We wanted to support her so much.”. It became more than a back- support. In a few days, the video Eleanor’s Song became half a million, “It was really fast,” says Wilfried Arens. “In the end, there were about a thousand views every hour.”
Last Tuesday, Eleanor’s video disappeared from the Facebook pages of everyone who shared it, from Eleanor’s timeline, and from Wilfried Arens’ page as well. “I don’t understand,” he says. “I tried to contact Facebook, but telephone contact is impossible and my emails are not answered.”. “Very unfortunate,” says Tim Stolley. “Did it go too fast? Perhaps it was thought to be spam? We certainly have no commercial intention. We don’t ask for money either. It is only us to raise awareness. And for the positive messages. That is the worst. In the meantime, about a thousand hung on the video sweet wishes to Eleanor. We have now lost it.”. Wilfried Arens put the video clip back online on Wednesday. “Eleanor is very happy with her song,” says Tim Stollery, “She sings the song cheerfully. It makes her happy. When she heard her name in the text for the first time, her face lit up completely. You don’t need to see music, hey.”.
Picture credits, clockwise…
Texan rock singer David Roberts. “Rugged twink, golden heart.” PHOTO GVA
Tim Stollery, Eleanor and Mommy Kelly. “We want to make parents aware: don’t wait and don’t be put off.” PHOTO GVA
Antwerp native Wilfried Arens wrote the music for Eleanor’s Song. PHOTO WALTER SAENEN