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article imageGirl, 4, battles with Brittle Bone Disease — Family asks for help

By Owen Weldon     Mar 1, 2013 in Health
Bella, who is 4-years-old, was born with a disease called Osteogenisis Imperfecta, which is also referred to as brittle bone disease. Bella's family is now trying to raise money to help with medical expenses.
Mindy, Bella's mother, went for her seven month ultrasound when the doctor noticed that Bella's limbs were shorter than what they were supposed to be. Eventually a more detailed ultrasound was performed and that was when it was revealed that Bella actually had numerous fractures throughout her frame, as well as bowing in her legs and arms. Bella's skull also showed signs of being demineralized, according to her Indiegogo page.
The doctors told Mindy, and father Bill, that the baby was not going to survive the birth, as the baby was diagnosed with type III Osteogenesis Imperfecta due to the severity of her broken limbs.
Many infants die due to respiratory difficulties, and children who do survive the disease past infancy often do not grow past three feet tall and they usually spend much of their life in wheelchairs.
However, according to GlobalGenes, doctors said that even if Bella managed to survive the birth, then there was little chance that she would not live to see her first birthday.
She not only survived the birth, but she has also lived to see the age of four. Since being born, she has suffered over 40 broken bones and she has even had rods put in her arms and legs in order to help her strengthen her bones.
Throughout the first few months of her life, she was given infusions of Pamidronate that was meant to help her deal with the pain and to help thicken her bones. However, Bella's bones still would break, and both her arms would often break, and she would try to use her feet to grab hold of her bottle.
Even though she has overcome odds, she will still need additional surgeries to replace the rods as she grows.
Bella started on a new treatment called Zolendronate after she started to have frequent spinal fractures. She continues to receive the treatment every four months, and she has seen a decrease in spinal fractures.
Not only does Bella have brittle bones, but she also has brittle teeth. The girl's dentist has told the family that the teeth would need to be capped, as this would keep them from breaking, and it would help her eat more food. As of now, Bella eats mostly foods that are soft.
Currently, Bella is small for someone her age. She is 25 inches long and she weights 16 lbs. Her family is hoping that one day she would be able to walk.
Bella's condition is rare, and her family has to travel to see a specialist who has experience with treating OI in children. Bell's father works hard too provide for Bella and Mindy, who provides constant care to Bella.
Bella's family have incurred ongoing medical costs and expenses related to travel. Friends and family are asking for help via their Indiegogo page. Some of the things that the money will be used for are a mobile powered wheelchair, mini van to transport the power chair, surgery to cap Bella's teeth, trips to Omaha for specialized care and trips to Nashville for infusions. The money will also be used for trips to see a dental specialist, weight-bearing and modifications to the family's home in order to accommodate Bella.
According to FitSugar, there is no cure for the disease, only treatment that can reduce pain and complications that are associated with OI.
Some complications associated with OI are hearing loss, heart failure, spinal cord or brain stem problems and permanent deformity.
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