By all appearances, the only way 16-year-old Hudson Smith is different from any other teenager is that she’s more cheerful. She loves horses, and used to ride six days a week. By the time she was nine, she had become a proficient rider.
However, Hudson suffers from Ehlers Danlos Type 3 Hypermobility, a rare connective tissue disorder, and Chiari Malformation 1. What that means is Hudson’s body doesn’t have the necessary
collagen that connects skin and organ tissue. That has affected more than just her riding.
Without this kind of glue, Hudson’s internal organs are not naturally supported, and resulting problems can manifest themselves in different ways.
There is no cure.
Chiari Malformation 1 is a neurological condition that has caused her brain to slump in her skull. Her family suspects that this has led to cranial instability, but that has yet to be confirmed.
There are no doctors in Canada who specialize in her condition, and Hudson has to consult with a specialist in Maryland. Although there is no known cure for the disease, the hope is that Hudson can be treated in a way that will increase her quality of life.
That won't come cheaply.
Hudson’s mother, Tracy Teves, started a youcaring.com campaign with a goal of raising $10,000. She has been accepting donations and selling bracelets and t-shirts.
Last weekend, she put on a walk-a-thon fundraiser at the Pomeroy Sport Centre that raised over $1,000. She told Alaska Highway News yesterday that a recent lump-sum donation of $1,000 has put them past their goal.
“This morning we are now at $10,655.60 and more funds are being collected,” said Teves in an email. She was on her way to Upper Pine Elementary that morning, where a Grade 4 class had collected more than $600 for Hudson.
Funds raised will go towards doctor’s fees, medical imaging, testing, travel expenses and lodging over the course of a planned trip to Maryland, which will likely take around 10 days.
Money exceeding $10,000 will go into a trust account until they know more about the disease.
“Once we know the details of Hudson’s situation and we are able to formulate a plan, we will be able to explain publicly the next step,” said Teves.
If Hudson doesn’t need the funds for her own condition, she’s said that she would like the money to go towards helping another Canadian girl with the same health concerns.
Hudson’s family initially moved to the Peace Region six years ago to live on a farm. But their lives changed dramatically after Hudson’s health started to deteriorate five years ago.
“It started with knees buckling, painful joints, and progressed to severe headache and pain,” said Teves.
Hudson experienced tinnitus and pain in her joints and limbs, and had trouble standing up straight. Sometimes she would collapse. Doctors had first chalked it up to hormones and normal development, but they began to realize it was much more serious.
This led to a drastic change in Hudson’s life.
Once an avid equestrian, she became unable to ride. By the time she reached Grade 7, she couldn’t attend school, so she began distance education. Even as her health deteriorated further, they still weren’t sure why.
Hudson was admitted to Fort St. John Hospital last February, then transferred to the British Columbia Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, where she stayed for six weeks. After that she was sent to another hospital. There were no answers. That’s when they decided to look outside Canada, and found a specialist who they are hoping will be able to provide some relief.
Her family doctor sent the referral to the specialist in Maryland. They’re waiting for a response.
The next challenge for Hudson is preparing for the journey down to the United States.
For more information, contact the campaign at email@example.com.