Poplar Bluff girl fighting disease recently associated with Zika virus

Poplar Bluff girl fighting disease recently associated with Zika virus

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Only recently has an outbreak of birth defects in Latin American countries from the disease Microcephaly been linked to the Zika virus.

But one Poplar Bluff six-year-old has been fighting the disease her whole life.

At first glance, Sissy is like any other six-year-old.

She's energetic, enjoys playtime with her siblings and loves everything princess.

Her mom, Denise Neill, said she hopes to one day take Sissy to meet her favorite characters at Disney.

Only time may be running out.

"They do only give her a life expectancy until ten" Neill said.

Sissy was born with Microcephaly.

From the outside, it's hard to tell anything is wrong.

But what's going on inside Sissy's body is a different story.

"She has bad lungs, she has acid reflex disease, she has hip dysplasia, she has a mild form of cerebral palsy from it as well," Neill said.

For Neill and Sissy that means six doctor's visits a month and dozens of medications each week.

"It's not cheap, it's been expensive," she said.

"All of the other health problems she has is a result of the Microcephaly,"  Neill said. "They say there's no cure."

Neill said it's still unclear what exactly caused Sissy to be born with the disease.

"It's not just the Zika virus that causes it," she said. "There's a medicine out there that women take to try to get pregnant or like in my case, I wasn't trying to get pregnant, they were just trying to regulate me, and that's been known to cause the Microcephaly."

Perhaps the most concerning side effect is what it's doing to her brain.

"Her head is way smaller than it's supposed to be and the brain cannot grow because of the skull being too small," Neill said.

Meaning it has taken Sissy longer to develop things like walking and speech.

"She just starting learning how to talk when she was five."

But Sissy's not letting that slow her down. She pushes to be independent and do things on her own.

With the time she has left with her daughter, Neill hopes to be able to make Sissy's wish come true.

"She wants to go Walt Disney World to meet the princesses because she's love the princesses, especially from Frozen."

She also said she wants to help others fighting the deadly disease.

"If there is parents that do have children with Microcephaly they won't have to be afraid to come out and say," Neill said. "I was afraid for many years that they might look at her like she was a monster but she's really not. She is just a little girl who was born special."

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