Girl sells paintings to cover medical expenses of rare chronic illness

Girl raises money for her own care

POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - “As a mom I just got chills,” said Favienne Roop.

The Powhatan mother is talking about how she felt when her daughter Bryleigh told her that she wanted to help pay her own medical bills by selling artwork that she created and some of her mom’s baked goods at Pocohontas Elementary School’s Mistloe Market Saturday.

“For somebody this little to see that there is a need for something and to want to make a difference in the family’s life and not be selfish and take the money for herself and put it towards what she needs to get healthy [is remarkable]," said Roop.

The 10-year-old suffers from a rare disorder called Eosinophilic Esophagitis or EOE.

“Basically she can’t have food," Roop said.

All of her nutrients come through a port in her stomach. There’s no cure and insurance doesn’t cover many of the costs for Bryleigh’s care.

“So we’re looking at really high medical bills for next year in access of 100 thousand dollars that we’re paying out of pocket,” Roop said.

The mother doesn’t flinch at the thought of putting everything on the line to give her daughter the best care, including traveling to Ohio where doctors are skilled in this disease.

Bryleigh has full understanding of the expense and wants to be a help by offering up something that’s special to her, her artwork.

“We would have a really bad day and come home from the doctors and things would not go the way we wanted them to and instead of sitting and crying about it we would get messy and do art," Roop said.

The other thing that helps Bryleigh cope, her stuffed animals, but they’re not for sale.

“She’s got about 400 stuffed animals, Roop said.

“To be exact 390," Bryleigh interjected.

I wish that she didn’t have to be on a feeding tube and I wish she could go to birthday parties and do sports and recess and finish a whole day of school and not go home in pain,” Roop said.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to aid the family with Bryleigh’s medical costs.

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