A wish come true: movie star pup and ambitious North Dakotan join up and pay it forward

(Ellen Gregoire)
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 6:13 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Looking at Ellen Gregoire and Rosebud today, you see an accomplished young woman and her loyal farm dog. But almost exactly 13 years ago you’d have seen an ill little girl watching a movie that she didn’t know would change her life.

Ellen’s story started with bad news.

“I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in June 2008,” said Ellen Gregoire.

It was a trying time for her family.

“You know there were a lot of trips to the emergency room and trips where her brothers would have to stay with someone while she was in the emergency room. So, it was a pretty hectic and scary time for us,” said Ellen’s mother Ann Bailey.

But the diagnosis brought Ellen together with her best friend.

“I loved the Air Buddies movies. And I just loved dogs,” said Ellen.

Her wish came true when Make-A-Wish North Dakota brought five-year-old Ellen to watch an “Air Buddies” movie, “Santa Buddies,” being filmed.

“The producer had all the Air Buddies sitting in a trailer and they all jumped off the couch when Ellen walked in,” added Ann.

A week later, the producer, Anna McRoberts, gave her a 16-week-old golden retriever, Rosebud.

“At that point we had two dogs and Rosebud made three. So, it was a very crazy bunch,” said Ellen.

Ever since, Rosebud has stuck by Ellen. Through treatment, high school, and her ten-year celebration of being cancer-free.

“At first when they said she was in remission we were still pretty worried every time she had a fever or something we would worry,” said Ellen’s father Brian Gregoire.

“But it’s like a weight is lifted off. And the more years that pass from when I had cancer, the lighter the weigh on my shoulders becomes,” added Ellen.

Now, Ellen and Rosebud are pursuing new goals -- Rosebud gave up acting and has settled into life as a farm dog, and Ellen has become a champion for other kids with life threatening illnesses.

“I think it’s made Ellen a stronger person overall. She can handle life’s ups and downs easier because she has gone through something very difficult,” said Brian.

Ellen’s latest mission has been fundraising for Make-A-Wish Holiday Heroes.

Donations to the fundraiser will be accepted through Dec. 31. For more information go to Holiday Wish Hero 2021: Ellen Gregoire - Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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