2-year-old girl battles rare neurological disorder

Posted at 4:41 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 18:11:12-04

REED CITY, Mich. - A little girl was born completely healthy, but is now unable to walk or talk and her symptoms are only getting worse.

2-year-old Jaycee Jo Leonard's diagnosis is one-in-a-million according to doctors. Her family is now doing everything they can to save the toddler's life. Little Jaycee Jo is fighting a rare life-threatening disease called Opsocionus Myocionus Ataxia Syndrome, or OMAS.

It's a rare condition where a child's own immune system starts attacking their own brain, mainly the cerebellum and brain stem according to Dr. Jason Umfleet, Neurologist at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids.

For Jaycee Jo, it's affecting her eye movement, causing severe tremors and has also taken away her ability to walk and talk. Dr. Umfleet said the condition is often caused by the immune system trying to attack a cancerous tumor called a Neuro Blastoma.

"In addition to removing the tumor, we have to alter the child’s immune system to try and prevent it from attacking the child’s own brain," Dr. Umfleet said.

Jaycee Jo's mother,  Dusty Dressler, says she'll be going into surgery later this week to remove the tumor, but it's only the start of her fight against OMAS. There's no cure and doctors say remission can take nearly two years, but there's still hope.

"With other children here at DeVos we’ve had very good success and children having very good outcomes," said Dr. Umfleet.

It's been extremely difficult for the family. They've created a Gofundme page to help them with medical expenses.

You can also help by attending an upcoming Facebook event called Jaycee's OMAS Walk.

Jaycee’s OMAS Walk

Sunday Nov. 6 @ 11 a.m.

Bysterveld County Park

4171 14th St. Wayland Mich. 49348

$10 individual

$5 kids 12 and under