Entertainment

9-Year-Old Amputee Who Survived Wildfires Joins Ellen

It’s been a long, arduous road for Lilly Biagini.

First the 9-year-old, who was born with arthrogryposis, a severe joint disorder, underwent the amputation of both her legs above the knee a few years ago. Now she and her family have lost their rental home in Santa Rosa, California, as well as her prosthetic legs and wheelchair, in the wildfires that ravaged the region.

Biagini and her mother, Jessica, were featured on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” Thursday, where they shared their story and the hurdles they face in the wake of the wildfires.  

“At 1 a.m. we were awoken from a phone call from my grandmother,” said Jessica Biagini. “I immediately grab Lilly, she’s my best friend.” 

Jessica Biagini left her cell phone at home when they jumped into her mother’s car and drove to her grandmother’s house. 

“I turned around and realized we’re OK and sitting in traffic and I was like ‘Lil’ and she goes ‘mom, my legs, my wheelchair, my shorties, where are they?’ and I’m like I can’t get back to the house,” she said. 

The mother tried to drive back but was not allowed to return to the town by officials battling the wildfires. 

After the fire, they were allowed to visit their house only to find her white car covered in ashes and Lilly’s wheelchair destroyed. The mom also found Lilly’s birthday presents – the big day is Nov. 3 – had burned. 

DeGeneres and Shutterfly surprised the mother and daughter with a new 2017 Nissan Versa, and revealed a trunk full of birthday presents for Lilly. 

DeGeneres also announced she’s starting a campaign to raise money for the victims of the California wildfires and encouraged people to go to GOFUNDME.COM/ELLEN to contribute.

On the same show, DeGeneres spoke out on the #MeToo movement, which encourages people to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault.

“So, millions of people have come out posting ‘Me Too.’ I applaud them all, I think it’s brave, and I think it’s important to speak out and not be shamed by anyone. It is not always easy, but we have to do that,” she said. “And that is why I posted and I will say it right now out loud – me too.”

-NBC’s Estefania Hernandez contributed to this story.

Published at 9:00 AM PDT on Oct 19, 2017 | Updated at 2:19 PM PDT on Oct 19, 2017

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