In the beginning...
Our story begins with the name sake of SPIFF, Scott Ellis. Scott was born January 17, 1982. He grew up a healthy and active young man. At age 11, he was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a solid mass cancer that commonly invades the large bones of young adults. After 18 months of chemo therapy and radiation, the tumors were gone.
"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
The next few years were filled with doctor visits and tests of every kind. Scott's determination enabled him to stay with his class in school and he graduated from high school in 2000 with his classmates and friends that had been a great source of encouragement to him during his illness.
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
The fall of 2000 found him enrolled in college and ready to take the next step in life. During this time, he met and fell in love with the young lady that would become his soul mate and later his wife. In the fall of 2004, Scott began to experience health problems that landed us at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. He was diagnosed with AML, a form of leukemia. In February of 2005, he received the first of two stem cell transplants. In 2007, it was necessary for Scott to undergo the second stem cell transplant. The treatments and the medications would take its toll on Scott's body each time the cancer would return.
In 2008, Scott graduated from college, was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda academic fraternity, landed his first job and married the love of his life, Lindsey (Yates) Ellis. Later that year, they would buy their first home together. He had accomplished so much considering all the obstacles that came his way.
Throughout his young life, that was many times filled with sickness and pain, his positive attitude, his courage and his deep abiding faith kept a smile on his face. He was blessed with family and friends that loved him, cared for him and supported him in his battle. During his experience, he observed so many other young people fighting a similar battle without the same type of encouragement and support that he had received. He saw families devastated by this illness and the burden it placed on them.
As Scott became an adult, he recognized that anyone stricken by this disease has the need for family to be by their side as well as spiritual and financial support. It became Scott's desire to "pay forward" the blessings and support that he experienced in his life, to somehow make a difference in the lives of others.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7
In September of 2009, Scott went home to be with the Lord. During the 16 years of his illness he never let his situation in life define him as a person. He never gave in to the disease we call cancer. He loved his wife and family well, he accomplished much and he touched many in his 27 years.
It is the purpose and desire of SPIFF to keep that spirit alive and to honor Scott's wishes by helping and supporting those who find themselves in the same struggles that he experienced in his time with us. With your help and financial support, the "Scott's Pay-it-Forward Fund" will make a difference in the lives of families and individuals fighting the battle of their lives. Your tax deductible donations will go directly to these families at a time when it is most needed.
Please help us make a difference by giving.
Mike and Durinda Ellis, along with their daughter Amanda and son-in-law Christopher Washburn and daughter-in-law Lindsey are the co-founders of SPIFF. Mike and Durinda were married in June of 1977 and were blessed with two children, Amanda and Scott. Durinda is a wonderful homemaker and has worked in banking and secretarial positions outside the home since 1987. Mike has worked in the construction industry for 40 years. They are both 1974 graduates of Casey, IL High School and make Casey their home. They are faithful members of the Casey First Baptist Church, where Mike has been a Deacon for the past 20 years. Their grandchildren, Emory and Gracie Washburn, live in Evansville, IN with their parents where they are involved in many activities. Faith and Family are a very important part of the Ellis family.
Amanda is Scott’s older sister, who was also his first bone marrow transplant donor. She and her husband, Chris, both graduated from Casey in 1996 and 1993 respectively. Amanda went on to Eastern Illinois University to graduate in 2002 with a Master’s Degree in Dietetics. She is now self-employed by Washburn Nutrition Services. Chris attained his degree from Lakeland Community College as well as served 4 years in the US ARMY. He is a designer for Lochmueller Group, Engineering Firm. Chris and Mandy were married in 2002. They welcomed their first child, a son - Emory, into the world in 2003 followed by their their daughter, Grace, in 2007. Emory keeps busy with school and sports and Gracie stays busy with school and band. As a family, they reside in Evansville, IN and are members of Oakhill Baptist Church.
Lindsey has been a part of the Ellis family for 15 years (and counting) and SPIFF since its origin. Lindsey and Scott began dating in March of 2000 and faced many things together over the next 9 1/2 years. Scott and Lindsey both graduated from Casey in 2000 and 2002, respectively. They were married in June of 2008. Lindsey worked as an Accountant at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. Lindsey has attended the Nazarene Church in Casey her entire life and has been a member since her early teens. She has served as a student, teacher, worship team member and Sunday School Superintendent. In May of 2015, Lindsey committed her love to Colby Shull and they were married. In March of 2017, they welcomed their first child, Madelyn into the world. Colby serves in the US Air Force and they are currently stationed at Hill AFB in Utah.
Our SPIFF Committee consists of family members and friends with great enthusiasm for all things SPIFF! Our faithful friends are: Rhonda Montgomery, Debbie Hawkins, Cindy Simpson, Randy & Cindy Yates, Terry & Renee Honselman, Brad & Peggy Hickox, Brandon & Brittany Burkybile, and Kim & Josh Beeman. Without this core group, SPIFF events would be near impossible to pull off. We very much love and appreciate this dependable dozen and one!