Over $170,000 Donated to Five-Year-Old Child With Rare Disease

Five-year-old Sophia Garabedian was diagnosed with a rare disease called Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) earlier this month. The disease is spread by mosquitos and causes potentially fatal brain swelling. She has been receiving treatment at the Boston Children's Hospital since September 3rd, 2019. Thanks to a GoFundME set up for Sophia's medical expenses, over $170,000 has been raised.

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According to the GoFundMe page, she is now in fair condition at a Boston hospital and is slowly gaining back her appetite and "an even whisper a few words". This is an improvement from when the family provided an update on September 10th where she was "unable to talk or walk" and had "limited cognitive function."

"She is meeting every day with neurologists and physical therapists and trying very hard. We are all so proud of her," says Debbie Moynihan, a family friend who set up the fundraising page.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, specific treatment and vaccinations are not known for EEE. It's a very rare disease which often triggers brain swelling, fever, and coma. It kills 30% of those who contract it.

The CDC says there are up to 10 cases each year in the U.S. This year, signs of EEE have mostly popped up in the Northeastern section of the country, with this being Massachusetts' first outbreak since 2012.

Even though it is September, Public health officials say it's still mosquito season and urges people to protect themselves from the insects.