Aiming High for Abigail: Spaghetti feed & auction coming
January 4, 2018
A benefit spaghetti feed and auction will be held at the Boundary County Middle School for Abigail Blockhan, the daughter of Don and Nikki Blockhan, Bonners Ferry, at 6 p.m. Saturday, January 20.

About two years ago, Abigail fell ill with flu-like symptoms. It progressed until she was bed ridden most days.

After several months, Abigail was diagnosed with dysautonomia, a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which controls the 'automatic' functions of the body, including heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, dilation and constriction of the pupils of the eye, kidney function and temperature control.

People living with various forms of dysautonomia have problems with light headedness, fainting, malnutrition and more. Abigail suffers from many of these symptoms, and because of that, requires a feeding tube for her nutrition.

She spends many hours with her doctors, getting tests done, undergoing surgeries, trips to the emergency room and more.

Dysautonomia is not rare. Over 70 million people worldwide live with various forms of the condition. People of any age, gender or race can be impacted.

There is no cure for any form of dysautonomia at this time, but Dysautonomia International is funding research to develop better treatments, and hopefully someday a cure for each form of dysautonomia.

Despite the high prevalence of dysautonomia, most patients take years to get diagnosed due to a lack of awareness amongst the public and within the medical profession. Abigail was fortunate in that respect.

So far, the treatments that have been tried for her have had little success in helping. Physicians and her family are trying to get to the root of the cause of her dysautonomia, as well as trying to find treatments that will give her a better quality of life.

Abigail has a tenacious spirit and has fought this battle with strength and grace! Even on her worst days she finds a way to smile. She's in the eighth grade, but due to her illness, which requires at least one trip a month to out of state hospitals (in November, it was four trips to Seattle), she is now home schooled and missing her classmates, having last attended Mt. Hall Elementary.

The benefit is being organized on Abigail's behalf by close family friend Steve Ussher, who has also launched a GoFundMe page, "Aiming-High-for-Abigail," to help raise funds to help the family give their daughter her best chance at a normal life. To find out more or to donate auction items for the event, call him at (208) 267-4647.