A GoFundMe Page Raised $1 Million For This Girl

by Caitlin Mahon

Looking at Eliza O'Neill, you'll see a beautiful, happy 4-year-old South Carolina girl. But, tragically, Eliza suffers from Type A Sanfilippo, a rare disease that will take away Eliza's ability to speak by the time she's five years old, and could see her die without treatment. Via the 'Saving Eliza' page on GoFundMe, her parents and 7-year-old brother Beckham have raised close to $1 million for the $2 million her parents say is needed to cure Eliza of this disease. But the clock is ticking, and every minute and dollar counts.

Sanfilippo Syndrome is a life-threatening disease; one out of every 70,000 babies are born with it. Glenn, Eliza's dad, told CBS that "when it builds up to a point, it begins to take over brain and body. Children lose speech, mobility, ability to feed themselves, have seizures, and then complete failure and death. It is a terrible disease."

Through a Go Fund Me page, the O'Neill family has raised just over $800,000. But obviously, there's a long way to go, and not a lot of time.

Eliza's mother, Cara, told CBS:

If the money doesn't come in time, she will stop speaking within the next six months. She will stop walking within the next two years, she will stop being able to feed herself within the next three to four years, and she will develop seizures and movement disorders. She will experience a lot of pain and suffering, and then she will die.

According to the family's GoFundMe page, the 'Saving Eliza' page has raised enough for the production of the medicine — the first stage of the trial — but there's still some way to go before the family can fully fund the clinical trial. Cara and Glenn want to raise the remaining funds needed by October.

In the hope that their story would reach more people, the family created two videos, one where the O'Neills tell their family's story, and another with brother Beckham is pleading for your help. Since each has received a lot of exposure, the family is now documenting their journey toward Eliza's cure.

If the O'Neill family receives the $2 million needed for Eliza's treatment, she could receive her cure by year's end at the Nationwide Children's Hospital, located in Ohio.

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Image: Twitter/@HuffPostParents