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Family of sick Alberni girl needs help

Posted on 05/02/2010 12:00am

Keri Sculland, AlberniValley Times

Published: Friday, February 05, 2010

Nine-year-old Amber Humphrey-Jones has been fighting a severe neurological disorder.

A week ago, Amber's mom found her at 3 a.m., having what she thought was a seizure. Amber and her parents, Donna and Darryl, hurried off to the West CoastGeneralHospital, where her condition continued to worsen. Amber was diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which may have spawned from a bladder infection she suffered from at the time. The hospital attempted an unsuccessful spinal tap before rushing her to Victoria for further treatment. From there, Amber and her family were airlifted by helicopter to B.C. Children's Hospital. Amber has already undergone three spinal taps.

Now in critical condition, Amber is awake after being unconscious for a week. She is recovering from the disorder that attacked the right side of her brain, and still has some swelling.

Her recovery may take six months, said her aunt Simone Hammel. Amber has to be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure her medication works and brings fluid to her brain. Hammel said the family is still unsure if there will be any brain damage.

A happy, healthy kid, Amber attends Wood Elementary. Her aunt said Amber always shares everything she has with other kids. She is an avid Bulldogs fan, and Hammel said Amber probably has all of the players' signatures.

"She is struggling just to survive right now," Hammel said.

Amber's family is with her at the Children's Hospital right now. The hospital has provided them with meal vouchers, and is allowing them to stay in the hospital for three weeks so far. To cover the costs of Amber's medical condition, Hammel set up a barbeque at Buy-Low Foods on Thursday and Friday of this week. She is asking for any financial help to assist the low-income family in their time of need. Hammel wanted to thank Buy-Low Foods, where she works, because they have been so supportive of her niece even though she hasn't worked at the store for long. She plans on more fundraising for her niece and sister's family in the future.