My blog is frequently a forum for talking about beauty products, trying to inspire others to be better, talking about my own journey with my illness, and talking about faith, but today, I became aware of the story of another little girl from Columbia, South Carolina whose story made me stop for a moment. Eliza is a beautiful, vibrant little four-year-old girl who was diagnosed with a rare, terminal genetic disorder called San Filippo Type A which causes sugars to build up in the body, causing neurological damage, seizures, developmental regression and eventual death. Her family is hoping to raise money so that she can seek treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where there is a clinical trial available for this disorder, providing even a cure, but it isn’t covered by insurance, and costs over $2 million. So far, this GoFundMe has raised $880,000, but they still have much more to raise, and could use our help! Their goal in the month of June is to have each person invite three friends to raise $22 each, and it begins with each of us.
As brothers and sisters, members of this society, we are commanded to look after one another, especially the children, and especially those who are in need of a little help, who are sick. And Eliza is in both of those categories. We live in a world where we need to know someone to feel a sense of charity, or where money is tight, and so we feel a great sense of stress regarding where our extra pennies, nickels and dimes go, if they go anywhere at all. But the amount – pennies, nickels, dimes, or hundreds doesn’t matter. It is showing another family that is facing perhaps the darkest and worst moment of their lives at this very moment, especially one that we don’t know personally, what it means to feel the love of Christ.
Each and every one of us out there have shouldered burdens, the crosses of others, and have each had our own struggles and strifes at one point. The heaviness has been different, but to each, it has felt as though we are carrying the weight of the world. You see, personal crisis, whether it be a physical or emotional ailment, the loss of a job or loved one, or something entirely else, can feel as though the world is coming down, and night has encroached upon day with no prospect of the sun shining again. What truly makes a difference, however, is how we handle this crisis. It is natural to hide, to spend days and nights in hiding, and yet, some choose to fight with all their might. This is precisely what this family has elected to do, and I have so much respect and love for them, despite not even knowing them personally – it is as though they are saying to this disease that by putting on their boxing gloves (both emotional and physical), this disease cannot possibly win, nor can it take anything from them in the days and months to come. It is this type of attitude that does not allow the disease to win, even though it is in many ways more powerful and possesses the upper hand.
And so I am asking all of you to do something…To prayerfully consider and discern whether it is in your budget to give to their cause, or even just send a message of encouragement and love to the O’Neill family on their Facebook page. I know that they are just one of countless families out there facing a medical crisis and in need of financial assistance, but unlike some, they are facing a tangible solution, and see incredible hope on the horizon. They have raised over $1.4 million so far, and only need to raise $1 million more, and while this is for many an unfathomable amount, it can be done – through prayer, through giving a small amount, and through spreading the word of this seemingly incredible little girl with a contagious giggle, a sweet smile, and the will to live against all odds.
More Information on the O’Neill Family and Eliza:
-To Find out more about her story, watch a YouTube video her parents made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0IY8qG7J-I
-If You feel at all compelled to give toward her treatment, her family has set up a GoFundMe page: http://www.gofundme.com/ElizaONeill
-To stay updated on her condition, feel free to follow her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ElizaOStory
-Or her Twitter Account: @savingeliza