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#PrayforElla takes over Edwardsburg, town rallies behind local teen

EDWARDSBURG, Mich. --- A community is rallying behind a Edwardsburg teen after she was hit by a school bus in December.

Ella Merrill, 16, is now in recovery after that scary crash, while the entire town of Edwardsburg #prayforella.

“Kind heart, fierce mind, brave spirit, pray for Ella,” said Mikki Spagnoli, a close family friend.

“#Prayforella” is a phrase on t-shirts, wristbands, and electric signs in front of local businesses.  The Michigan town is sending support to the 16-year-old, who was hit by a school bus near Redfield Road on December 9.

“She’s got to have a lot of support with everybody that loves her so much,” said Josh McMann, a friend of Merrill’s.

Spagnoli said her first reaction was to pray, when she heard Merrill had been in an accident. Merrill’s friend Brooklyn Bays said she found out about the accident through text message.

“Haley texted me and they were like, ‘Ella got in  a car accident,’” Bays said. “I was like, ‘What?’”

Haley Lindsley, another friend of Merrill’s, said now, more than a month after the accident, Merrill is recovering.

“The other day her goal was to swallow three times and she swallow eight times in a half hour,” Lindsley said.

Spagnoli said the support of the community is obvious.

“That that’s the biggest thing is to pray for Ella,” she said.

She said family, friends, and even strangers are supporting Merrill and her family through t-shirt and wristband sales. She said the community has bought up more than 1,500 wristbands and t-shirts during  local fundraisers.

“If any family is ever in some sort of like down time or anything like that our community always comes together and helps them,” said Kylee Pinkson, who works at La Place for Latte, one of many Edwardsburg businesses selling “#prayforella” merchandise.

Spagnoli said Merrill is bringing communities together.

“It’s not just here though Marcellus, people from granger, Elkhart it’s all over,” she said. “People that don’t even know Ella are praying and supporting and everyday just rooting for her to make it through this.”

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