"My husband and I will sit there and stare and memorize every second we can," said Terri Dunn, a mother of a child living with pulmonary hypertension. "So that we'll always have those memories."
It's the best day ever. At least, they try to make it that way for their 4-year-old daughter, Ella, who's living with pulmonary hypertension, a disease that's affecting her heart and lungs. It's typically seen in older people.
"You put on a strong face for her but spend a lot of time crying in the shower," said Dunn. "We call it our new normal."
You wouldn't know that she is battling this life threatening disease. She looks, imagines and acts like every other 4-year-old except she can't be too active and carries around a backpack that injects medicine in her chest.
"The medication is keeping her alive," said Dunn. "If that medication stops, there's only a four hour window from when it stops to when it needs to start again or it can be catastrophic to her."
It started on April 27th when Ella stopped breathing. Terri, her mother performed CPR, saving her life just in time for the ambulance to arrive and take them to the hospital
But that was just the start of the nightmare.
"The doctor came out and wasn't aware that my husband and I were standing behind him. He turned around and had tears dripping down his face," said Dunn.
Since then, Terri and her husband frequently travel to Boston for treatments, a trip that's costing them a fortune. But what Terri didn't expect was her story attracting the attention of a stranger who lives down the road, one that felt compelled to do something.
"I melted. To look at her is just to love her," said Laura Anderson, a concerned neighbor.
After seeing Ella's story online, Anderson decided to come up with multiple fundraising efforts to help offset the costs for hospital visits the family has to make.
"You always think that life is tossing you the hardball but then you look at a little girl like Ella and you think, we're lucky," said Anderson. "Our kids are perfect, our grand kids are perfect. We don't have any issues, we're lucky. We're lucky."
Terri was surprised to see so many people rallying behind her cause. She's hoping that her daughter's story would create a chain reaction for finding a cure.
"Children don't deserve to be sick with anything, cancer, leukemia, any disease," said Dunn. "People want their children. You have children, you have big dreams. You want them to be married and have wonderful lives, that's all any parents wants."
A craft fair is being held at the Milford Town Hall from 9- 4 p.m. Saturday where proceeds will go toward helping Ella.
There are a few websites to benefit Ella's cause: