Girl fights mysterious illness with courage - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Girl fights mysterious illness with courage

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Rhana Fleming is a sweet, 12-year-old girl and a talented gymnast.

She spent most of her time at the South County Movement Center practicing, and being with friends.

But five months ago, everything changed.

"We got a call from the gym, the South County Movement Center, and they said your daughter is not feeling well. So we thought we'd just pick her up and bring her home," said Robert Fleming, Rhana's father.

Rhana's family soon learned it was more serious than that.

She couldn't move her arms.

At the hospital, after her parents said they waited three hours in the emergency room, Rhana couldn't speak, lost all movement in her legs and then stopped breathing.

"Her lips and her face turned blue and it happens like in a second. Her whole face changed like she was dead," Robert Fleming said.

Doctors were able to revive her and tried to figure out what was wrong.

"They diagnosed her with Transverse Myelitis, a disorder that's generally caused by either a direct attack to the spinal cord or there's an auto-immune reaction to an infectious agent," Robert Fleming said.

Her family said doctors still really don't know what is wrong with her.

The road to recover has been slow and painful.

Rhana's parents are preparing for her to come home in July and they've had to adapt their entire house.

"We need a lift, an elevator, a bathroom. We need to get her a bed," said Cheryl Fleming, Rhana's mother.

Rhana has showed some movement on the right side of her body and she continues to fight.

"Our quote is ‘Our bodies don't define us, our hearts do,' and she is determined to get back (to the gym). She doesn't want to come home first, she wants to come to the gym. She misses her girls," Cheryl Fleming said.

A series of fundraisers will be held to help pay for Rhana's medical care. For more information, click here.

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