$1,590 of $33,000
28 donations

This fundraiser ended on 07/31/12

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The family and friends of Emily Brown are uniting to raise money for her battle against Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and Celiac Disease.

Most people spend their college years learning, growing, socializing, and working hard to become the adults they want to be. Our sister Emily has spent hers in one doctor's office after another, being poked, prodded, tubed and tested, told she had one disease, then another until at last she was alleged to be mentally ill. At the age of 19, the end of her first year of college, Emily started showing signs of depression, severe fatigue, joint pain, and digestive problems that included daily painful diarrhea, gas, bloating, and acid reflux. As was the "diagnosis of the day" she was told she was suffering from clinical depression, prescribed an antidepressant and referred to a gastroenterologist for treatment of IBS and acid reflux. When one antidepressant didn't work, she was prescribed another and another and another. None of them worked, and her digestive issues worsened until finally she was labeled Bipolar1, Manic Depressive and told that such stomach conditions often accompany that particular mental illness. Emily was handed off to one psychiatrist after another who continued to prescribe mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication, and ADD medications amongst many others. Each medication came with its own nasty set of side effects or terrible initial rejection symptoms. It was a disgusting and frightening cycle: One medication to treat the symptoms brought on by the previous medication. For five and a half years, while she was taking steps to treat a misdiagnosed mental illness, her unchecked autoimmune disorders nearly destroyed her thyroid gland and wreaked havoc on her body as a whole until the physical symptoms became painfully prevalent. This included but was not limited to sections of her hair turning white and falling out in clumps. Her skin became patched with a strange rash. Her body was constantly covered in dark bruises as she became anemic. Daily acid reflux to the point of vomiting eroded the enamel of her teeth while improper PH and bacteria levels, dry mouth, and malnutrition did irreversible damage, destroying her teeth completely.

Even with her symptoms driving her to her breaking point, Emily refused to give up. She decided to go against her entire team of doctors and started researching on her own, even learning to read her own blood work. In just six months she came across an autoimmune disorder that accounted for all of her initial symptoms apart from the digestive issues. She requested the necessary blood work and confirmed chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis better known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that targets the thyroid gland. Armed with this confirmation along with suspicions of Celiac disease, another autoimmune disorder, Emily sought treatment from a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or D.O., who was known for his successful treatment of thyroid diseases. After several more tests, she received confirmation of Celiac disease. It took over fifteen weeks to ween herself off the potent medication prescribed by psychiatrists. Emily started treatment for Hashimoto's and took on the challenges of a gluten free diet. Her whole life changed, and she felt as if she had woken up from a six year long drug induced haze. Our ever supportive family rejoiced as we, her siblings, told our parents we felt like we got our sister back. While the battle still continues, it was a decisive victory for Emily.

Four years later and Emily is still battling with the repercussions of two autoimmune diseases running amuck for six years. The latest and greatest of those battles being the traumatizing loss of all but six of her teeth at only twenty-nine years old. In the past nine months alone she has undergone two oral surgeries including one major extraction and several procedures that have maxed out her insurance and left her one surgery short of a permanent solution that will prevent irreversible bone loss and disfigurement of her jaw. It is a surgery that involves a lot; multiple dental implants, bone grafting, more alveoplasty and the usual increased risks of autoimmune disease patients. Emily is currently surviving with a full upper denture that was only meant to be temporary and nothing but her six front teeth on the bottom, making eating a daily struggle and putting stress on her already compromised immune system. Emily is at a standstill after reaching her financial limits. It is at this point where we are asking for help from friends, family, and anyone generous enough to fight along with Emily.

Please help us give our sister Emily back the bright smile we all remember. Please help us fight this ten year long battle against misdiagnoses and autoimmune disease that has taken so much from her. Money raised will help pay for the surgery and preparatory costs not covered by insurance. Please help us give Emily back her smile.

Thank you for your support!

Corinne, Brian, Elizabeth
Laurie and Dennis Brown
The Brown and Enright Families

For those wishing to contribute via check, it can be made out to Laurie or Dennis Brown and mailed to:
PO Box 436
Kouts, IN 46347
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