Woman raises money to help one ETX toddler - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Woman raises money to help one ETX toddler

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KILGORE, TX (KLTV) -

Jessica Lee is a three-year-old little girl who was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome at 18 months.

Rett Syndrome is the most severe form of Autism and affects, almost exclusively, females.

At first glance, Jessica looks like a healthy little girl.

"She progressed normally as an infant, and then at about 15 months we started noticing that she started regressing," said Jessica's grandfather, Tim Westervelt.

After doctors diagnosed her with this neurodevelopmental disorder, Jessica lost her ability to speak, walk and use her hands. 

"After her first birthday party, her mother decided it was too much for her and she walked out," Tim said.

Jessica's grandparents, Tim and Lisa Westervelt, decided to take full custody of Jessica and her little sister.

"We didn't think twice about taking care of these girls. I wouldn't want anybody else to raise her or take care of her," Lisa said. 

Ashlyn Mcgee runs a horse rescue in Kilgore and has become good friends with Jessica's family.

"I fell in love with her right off the bat. She stopped feeding herself, she stopped eating, she stopped crawling…and that pretty much touched my heart," said Mcgee, who is also a mother of three.

Ashlyn called Jessica's grandmother and told her she wanted to raffle off one of her rescue horses; all of the proceeds would go to Jessica.

"She about cried on the phone; it was a memorable moment," said Mcgee, with tears in her eyes.

Raffle tickets are $50. If you would like to enter the drawing, you can contact Ashlyn by email at horsesgifts98@ymail.com. You can also reach out to her by visiting her Facebook page www.facebook.com/BeautyNHorses.

"Nobody really knows about this disease; It's a terrible disease. I would just like for people to be aware of it and try to help with it," Tim said.

To make an online donation to Rett Syndrome research in honor of Jessica, visit www.girlpower2cure.org.

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