WASKOM, TX (KSLA) - Hundreds of people converged on Waskom, Texas, Volunteer Fire Department on Sunday afternoon for a 5-year-old girl suffering from septo-optic dysplasia.
Katelyn Yelvington, who was born with the condition, has little to no vision.
"Seeing her run into walls, you know, and run into tables, getting little bruises on her head. She would get frustrated at it," said her father, Josh Yelvington.
With hopes of fixing her vision, the Yelvingtons twice have traveled to Thailand for stem cell treatments.
Despite undergoing the intense procedure, Katelyn never has lost her sense of humor.
"Katelyn's a fighter," her father said. "There's hope out there."
A single trip to Thailand costs the family $40,000, Josh Yelvington said.
With the help of the East Texas community and Waskom Volunteer Fire Department, close to $65,000 has been raised over the past three years to help pay for Katelyn's medical expenses.
"The support from the Waskom Fire Department and all the volunteers that helped us out is amazing," Josh Yelvington said.
The expense and intense traveling have been well worth it, he added.
"She was just sitting there looking at me.
"I said, 'What do you see?' She said, 'I see your eyes'."
Katelyn now can recognize light in a room, her father said, but there's still work to be done.
The Yelvingtons plan to head back to Thailand at least two more times with hopes of fully restoring their daughter's vision.
Josh Yelvington said he and his wife also plan to raise money to help with medical expenses for other children in need of treatment.
"Hopefully, one day we can see the eyes of that kid open up or that kid walk," he said.
"We hope and pray we can help somebody else after this."