Imagine putting your child to sleep and waking up the next morning and she could not walk. This is what happened to my dear friend Lashunda Burr. Two years ago Lashunda and her daughter went to bed and woke up the next morning to get ready for the day and her daughter, Arboni, who was 11 years old at the time, was unable to walk. She told her mom she could not feel her legs. Her mother in disbelief stood her child up only to have her fall to the ground. Lashunda took her daughter to the ER in Natchitoches, LA where she was transferred to LSU hospital in Shreveport. Arboni was in extreme pain and was experiencing muscle spasms described as an electrical shock that sent a burning sensation throughout her body. After one week of being in the hospital Arboni was completely blind and within one and half weeks along with not being able to walk she was incontinent of her bowels and bladder. Three months later and numerous tests performed Arboni was diagnosed with a very rare disease called Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO). The medical team informed Lashunda that currently there is no cure for NMO.
Thanks to a great medical team after being diagnosed and receiving treatment Arboni regained her vision and was able to walk again. Arboni was sent home and traveled back and forth to LSU hospital for blood work every 2 weeks and chemotherapy every other month. Arboni seemed to be doing better for about 2-3 months and then one day while at school Arboni lost her vision again. Arboni was brought back to LSU and had persistent hiccups and vomiting for over one month, losing over 80 pounds. Part of Arboni’s treatment is with steroids and due to frequent steroid use Arboni has developed diabetes. When Arboni’s body has not responded to the steroids they have treated her with plasmapheresis.
Arboni recently had another exacerbation of uncontrollable vomiting, hiccups, muscle spasms and vision loss and stayed in the ICU for 21 days and is now receiving a stronger chemotherapy treatment every 2 weeks. Arboni is a 13 year old teenager in the eighth grade at Natchitoches Junior High. Arboni made straight A’s this past nine weeks and is on the dance line at her school. Arboni was given the option to do home school, but wants to go to school and live as normal of a life as possible. Arboni has peer helpers at school that help her navigate through school due to her vision loss. Arboni wants to be a nurse when she grows up and help others.
Arboni has never complained and will not allow her mother to come in her hospital room all depressed. She tells her mother, “I am not going anywhere until the Lord calls me.” Her favorite saying is, “I thank God for what it is and I am going to thank God for what it ain’t.”
Lashunda is a single mother of 4 children, 3 of which are grown. Lashunda is an amazing, loving, hard-working, optimistic, and beautiful mother who is doing the best she can do to provide her daughter. She has missed numerous days of work trying to care for her daughter and is currently behind on her rent and no longer has a vehicle due to being unable to make the payments. Lashunda does not have a reliable vehicle at this time to get her daughter back and forth to doctor visits.
Lashunda needs help paying her rent, bills, and food due to missing so many days of work while her daughter is in the hospital. She needs help paying for gas to get back and forth to LSU hospital, and needs a reliable vehicle. My goal is to have many prayer warriors praying for this family and to help this family financially. Having NMO is stressful enough let’s all join together and help lighten the financial burden for this family. Please pray for this family and everyone please give as you feel led to do so!