CHICAGO — A Dutch family is trying to raise money for surgery to save their young daughter's vision.
The 4-year-old girl, whose first name is Amelia, was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to grow throughout her body, as a baby.
The girl has been in and out of hospitals for years, but now a tumor is quickly growing in her right eyelid and pushing down her eye. It could permanently disfigure or blind her, according to a post on GoFundMe.
A surgeon in Europe won't be available to treat Amelia "for over a month," according to the GoFundMe post, but a doctor in Chicago could remove the tumor and move Amelia's eye back to the right position.
The family arrived in the city on Tuesday and is hoping Amelia will have the surgery Friday at Lurie Children's Hospital, they wrote.
Unsure if Dutch insurance will help, the girl's family is raising money on GoFundMe to help care for Amelia. The campaign has raised more than $23,000 in one week but has a goal of $30,000.
The family could not immediately be reached for comment, but in messages posted online they said Amelia's tumor had started to grow out from under her eyelid and they might need up to $90,000 to pay for the girl's operation and recovery.
"Every time I feel like giving up, I look at Amelia and find renewed strength to keep fighting," Amelia's mother wrote on the GoFundMe campaign. "It is a humbling experience to speak up and ask for help ... perhaps some of you have already walked in my path and know how uncomfortable this feels. Nevertheless, this tumor is persistent and aggressive."
Amelia, who has four siblings, had one leg amputated below her knee when she was just 1 1/2 years old.