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WOODSTOCK, Ga. (AP) — Eleven-year-old Juliette has been fighting for her life since before she was even born, and now her father is traveling with her across the country to try and save her life.
Ryan Lyng, a single father of three in Woodstock, has been by his daughter's side throughout her medical battles.
"They told us her chances of survival were very, very slim, and we should start preparing for quality-of-life," he said. "So, I started calling around the country and spoke with hospital after hospital."
On May 6, Juliette and her father traveled from Egleston Children's Hospital to an air ambulance — a small jet plane with medical equipment onboard — where the two were transported to Seattle to continue their fight.
Family friend Jessica Brown said the young girl has a strong spirit and is prepared to keep battling for her life.
"Juliette is the strongest person I've ever met," Brown said, adding the girl's words, "I don't want to die," were ringing in her head this week.
Born with several birth defects, including one extremely rare neurological disorder called moebius syndrome, Juliette has been through several major medical procedures in her short life, including two bone marrow transplants since 2014.
The first transplant didn't graft, so doctors were forced to try a second time. The second one worked, but Juliette soon began suffering from a severe complication of the surgery.
Her prognosis was grim, with a diagnosis of severe graft-versus-host-disease — a complication where the donor cells attack the recipient's body.
But her father wasn't ready to give up the fight. Lyng researched and called hospitals around the country. He finally found Dr. Paul Carpenter in Seattle, who specializes in graft-versus-host-disease in children.
Brown said fundraising efforts for the family have been successful, raising more than $70,000 through campaigns at Juliette's school, Bascomb Elementary, and through fundraisers at local businesses.
Donations can be made online at www.cotaforjuliettel.com, and updates are made to the Facebook group "Juliette's Fight Team" regularly.
Information from: Marietta Daily Journal, http://mdjonline.com/
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