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A little girl's surprise became a mission to appreciate health care professionals

'Medical Love Drops' number in 800 now after girl's efforts
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Posted at 3:32 PM, Nov 30, 2021

KENWOOD, Ohio — Ellory McClure is a 7-year-old girl with a complex medical condition that requires lots of visits to hospitals and doctors’ offices.

But that’s not what this story is about.

This story is about how Ellory notices the needs of other people and how she wants to help them.

It started in September, when Ellory made some drawings for a medical care team as a token of her appreciation. One of the doctors seemed confused when Ellory delivered it, said her mom, Carolynn McClure.

“And he made a comment that he’s not used to people doing nice things,” Carolynn said. “And she was really….”

“Surprised in my head,” Ellory said.

Ellory McClure, left, with one of her favorite nurses at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center after a recent medical love drop. Both are wearing masks and giving a thumbs up.
Ellory McClure, left, with one of her favorite nurses at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center after a recent medical love drop.

That surprise triggered an idea to give back to the people who give so much to everyone else every day.

“It made me do things for one person, and then it made me do two and three and four,” Ellory said, “and then getting more and more and more.”

It started with dropping off some cookies in September. Then the McClures put out some feelers to ask if others in the community wanted to help.

The idea took off, Carolynn said. And then snowballed, said Brian McClure, Ellory’s dad. It has become something the family calls “medical love drops.”

“In October, we reached about 450,” Carolynn said. “And then in November, it kind of grew into double the size. I think we’ve outreached about 815 – or we will this month. And then we have one more drop in December that – we’re not sure yet what the numbers will be.”

WCPO 9 tagged along for a recent delivery to The Jewish Hospital in Kenwood.

Ellory, her parents and two family friends dropped off 85 gift bags and 70 cupcakes – so much that Toni Kanter, the hospital’s director of mission, had to call for reinforcements to get everything inside.

Ellory McClure, in the foreground, talks with Toni Kanter, right, outside The Jewish Hospital after a medical love drop delivery. Family friends Robin Vanover, left, and her daughter, Violet, stand nearby.
Ellory McClure, in the foreground, talks with Toni Kanter, right, outside The Jewish Hospital after a medical love drop delivery. Family friends Robin Vanover, left, and her daughter, Violet, stand nearby.

“This is truly just a wonderful gift,” Kanter told them. “Our health care heroes need their hearts touched, and you’re doing it.”

“We are so grateful,” she added before telling Ellory: “You’ll be in our prayers of gratitude.”

Carolynn said she and her husband were reluctant about news coverage of the whole thing. They didn’t want a story about them or their daughter.

Instead, they want to focus on recognizing health care professionals who have been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic but without as many accolades as they got in the early months of the crisis.

‘To acknowledge and appreciate’

“Early on it was really amazing. You would see messages of hope written, like sidewalk chalk everywhere,” Carolynn said. “A lot of compassion for the medical community. And then I think that everybody grew tired of COVID, and everybody just is over it. And the medical professionals are kind of forgotten about.”

Ellory and her parents haven’t forgotten. And they have plenty of friends, neighbors and local businesses that haven’t either. The companies that have shown their appreciation through the medical love drops include Insomnia Cookies, Marx Bagels and Nothing Bundt Cakes in Mason, to name a few.

Volunteers help pack medical love drop care packages at the McClures' Blue Ash home on a Saturday in November.
Volunteers help pack medical love drop care packages at the McClures' Blue Ash home on a Saturday in November.

“We’re just blown away at how amazing our community is,” Carolynn said. “We’re very grateful.”

Michelle Ernst with Baking to Benefit made the cupcakes that went to The Jewish Hospital, Carolynn said.

“I love the cupcakes that she made,” Ellory interjected. “They look so delicious. I think the doctors are going to love it.”

Ellory’s empathy extends beyond doctors and nurses, though.

When she saw people experiencing homelessness while in Louisville for a medical treatment, Ellory decided she wanted to help them, too.

“We started to do the doctors, and now we’re seeing a lot of poor people, so we’re gonna go to the poor people next time,” Ellory said. “On Monday and the day after Monday we found some poor people and gave bags to them.”

The family distributed 15 sleeping bags, Carolynn said, along with gloves and food.

“She has lots of grand ideas,” she said of Ellory. “And they’re taking off.”

The family welcomes people to donate items from their Amazon wish list to help, but Carolynn said there are other ways to give, too.

“Just thinking about the medical professionals around them,” Carolynn said. “If it’s just writing a couple thank you notes that they have sitting around their house. And just taking the time to step back and notice.”

Ellory McClure, left, and her friend, Violet Vanover, 12, pose for a photo at a recent medical love drop at The Jewish Hospital. Ellory is just barely taller than Violet's shoulder. Both girls are wearing masks.
Ellory McClure, left, and her friend, Violet Vanover, 12, pose for a photo at a recent medical love drop at The Jewish Hospital.

“To acknowledge and appreciate,” Brian added.

It’s a lesson for everyone from a little girl named Ellory.

“Remember that guy with the dog, and we didn’t have any money?” Ellory asked her mom toward the end of the interview. “But Mimi had money, and we had dog treats. That was really good that we gave dog treats.”

“Yes,” her mom said, smiling. “It was very kind.”

You can access the McClures’ Amazon wish list online to make contributions. Or you can send a card or note of appreciation for a health care worker to Carolynn McClure at P.O. Box 42762, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45242.

Acts of Kindness stories appear weekly on WCPO 9 News and WCPO.com. If you know about an act of kindness that you think should be highlighted, email lucy.may@wcpo.com.