Homeowners association denies playhouse for girl with leukemia

A young leukemia patient's dream of having her own playhouse has been crushed after the family’s homeowners association blocked their request to build one on their Missouri property.

The parents of six-year-old Ella Joe Schultz told The Kansas City Star that her health keeps her from playing with other children.

“She’s earned this – she deserves it,” Pete Schultz told the paper. “She can’t get out and play with other kids. This playhouse is what she would have. Is it really going to hurt someone?”

According to The Kansas City Star, Ella Joe has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and other ailments that have forced her to delay kindergarten. She’s had multiple surgeries and gets five to seven IV treatments a day.

The homeowners group in the Kansas City suburb of Raymore released a statement on its website saying the proposal for a “barn-style” playhouse was denied because it didn’t have enough details to merit an exemption.

“Our hearts are with Ella Schultz and her family as they battle this terrible illness,” the statement said.

Jennifer Schultz, Ella's mother, told the paper that the family twice has contacted hospice and that Ella’s survival chance dropped below 5 percent. The last thing the family wanted was another fight.

The uproar began when Ella’s aunt nominated her to Make-A-Wish Missouri. She said she wanted a playhouse with an upstairs, dishwasher and a land line, The Kansas City Star reported.

Make-A-Wish granted the request and a local construction company agreed to offer free labor and materials.

But the plan came to a screeching halt Monday, when the Stonegate Homeowners Association said the playhouse would violate rules against outside structures and sheds.

Schultz told the paper that he understands the association’s concern and didn’t want the situation to turn ugly. “But why do you buy a house anyway – if not to raise a family?”

The homeowners association said it will work to "figure out a way to make Ella's wish come true" and the group has requested additional information from the Make-A-Wish foundation and the construction company that has committed to building the playhouse.

Meanwhile, Ella has been in the hospital fighting complications from her cancer. University of Kansas Hospital spokesman Bob Hallinan confirmed that she remained in the hospital Thursday afternoon.

The Schultzs' neighbors have rallied around the family before, including last year when after spending several months in the hospital, Ella came home to a neighborhood parade.

The Associated Press contributed to this report