LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The month of October is a time to raise awareness for things like domestic violence and breast cancer awareness, but also Rett Syndrome.
Ella, a 5-year-old Southwest Louisiana girl, has been diagnosed with the rare condition.
"At the start, she was able to say words to me, she said momma and dada, and she could play with toys like a normal child,” her mother, Lauren Bannon, said.
When Ella was about 2 years old, Lauren started noticing a decline in her health. She was misdiagnosed with autism, but another doctor told her parents that Ella had Rett syndrome - a genetic mutation.
“Her symptoms are autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, severe anxiety disorder,” Bannon said. “All in one little girl.”
About one in 10,000 girls are diagnosed with Rett syndrome each year.
Lauren says Ella’s diagnosis took a toll on their family.
"I just locked myself in the room and cried for days and days, and then I came out and told my husband ‘I can’t do this anymore, I need to put on a brave face and get out here and do something.’ "
It’s safe to say they are touching lives.
Claire Weeks, a friend of Ella’s and a student at Our Lady Queen of Heaven decided to tell her classmates about Rett syndrome.
“She’s really nice, she really is and it feels cool to be one of those people that tell other people about stuff like that,” Claire said.
Ella’s parents say it’s that kind of love and exposure that will help find a cure.
So far - Ella's non-profit organization has donated more than $100,000 to help find a cure.
To learn more about Ella’s condition and how you can help donate, visit www.ellas-hope.org.