A benefit for a Quincy infant soared beyond expectations Sunday evening.
Hundreds of people walked through the doors of Cougars Den to support Baby Ella Cain, who was badly burned in a house fire in January.
Baby Ella remains at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Illinois where doctors continue to treat burns over fifty percent of her body. Her parents, Sarah Ginster and Elvis Cain have stood by her side since day one, separated from their other children still living in both Quincy and Mendon, Illinois.
While Ella spends time recovering at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, the community is doing its part to take care of her family here at home.
"We expected a good crowd today, but there's a tremendous crowd at the Cougars Den," organizer Vonnie Tucker said.
Baby Ella is expected to stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
for up to a year
, but her family stays confident she'll make a full recovery. Meanwhile, Ella's medical bills are expected to skyrocket.
Community members have come together to host multiple benefits for Baby Ella, including Sunday's benefit at Cougars Den. Two dollars at the door got you in for an afternoon of family fun all dedicated to the Ginster/Cain family.
"They just keep coming in, and I keep thinking, where are we going to put them, but they make room!" Jennifer Hughes said. Hughes organized the "Pray for Baby Ella" wrist bracelets and T-shirts.
"I went inside and it was just the most wonderful feeling in the world. You couldn't breathe, you couldn't move. It was just great. Just wall to wall people. And they're all here for one reason, buying Baby Ella shirts, donating and buying cookies," Ella's Grandfather Steve Eighinger said.
"We also Skyped with Sarah and Elvis earlier, which was nice for everyone to see them," Hughes said.
"Quincy has always pulled together for anyone that lives here and this just shows how wonderful our community really is," Cougars Den Owner Linda Gilker said.
Even people who were once strangers to Baby Ella and her family are now connected through community support.
"We just like to come to benefits to support families, like they helped to support us," Taylor Sprinkle said. Sprinkle lost her brother to a brain tumor about 11 years ago. But before that time, the Quincy community came together for a benefit for her family. It's now become a pay it forward.
"If Baby Ella only knew what was going on, I know she'd be proud," Eighinger said.