Community rallies around sick Panola County girl

By Chip Washington - bio | email

PANOLA COUNTY, MS (WMC-TV) - A Mississippi community is rallying around a little girl who is too sick to fly to an out of state hospital for the treatment she needs.

Layla Hibbler, 2, was diagnosed with encephalitis, a brain disease, about a year ago.  Her mother says things changed dramatically last June.

"Besides losing her motor skills, she now has a seizure disorder," said Layla's mother, Amy Hibbler. "She suffers with low grade temps, and she also has a movement disorder."

Since her illness was diagnosed, the family travels monthly from their home in Panola County to Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis for various treatments. Hibbler was told by hospital officials that Layla is the first patient they have seen with this form of the disease, so a cure is a remote possibility.

They are now exploring another option in Philadelphia.  

"The hospital there in Philly is more familiar with this disease," Hibbler said. "They have seen many cases of this form of encephalitis."

The family has received overwhelming support from the community, including a fundraiser that was held past weekend. The trip to Philadelphia will be costly and difficult by car, but with hope and faith, anything is possible.

"You do have to have faith, no matter what a doctor says," Hibbler said. "You have to continue to believe in God, that he will perform the miracle, and I do believe he will heal my daughter."

Because of the serious nature of Layla's disease, her mother had to quit her job in order to provide her with 24-hour care. The family is leaving for Philadelphia on June 18, and if you want to help, there is a fund set up at Regions Bank.

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