When Eliza O'Neill was born, her parents envisioned her fifth birthday to be a joyous occasion, surrounded by family and friends. Most importantly, they hoped she'd be healthy.
Eliza turned five years old on November 16th, but instead of a big celebration, her family is trying to raise money to try and save her life.
Eliza suffers from a rare, ultimately fatal genetic disorder called Sanfilippo syndrome type A.She was diagnosed in 2013 and has slowly been losing her ability to speak. Doctors say that, over time, she will eventually lose her ability to walk, eat and breathe.
Her parents, Glenn and Cara O'Neill, have been racing against time to raise $2.5 million dollars for a clinical trial that is their only chance to find a possible treatment to save her. The clinical trial could also help other kids like Eliza who suffer from the disorder.
Eliza woke up early Sunday morning to her brother, eight years old, Beckham, wishing her a happy birthday.
"its been a hard and emotional day, but since the birthday started, $250,000 dollars has poured in and continues to roll in," said Glenn O'Neill.
The family has been living in a self-imposed quarantine for 180 days to keep Eliza healthy.
"We want to make sure that we are ready for the trial and that no illness outside of the home slows her down sooner," said Cara O'Neill.
Three weeks after the O'Neill's started Eliza's birthday campaign. They raised more than $300,000 dollars.
"If we need to raise more after today, we wont stop until we do it," Glenn says. "We need to before it's too late for Eliza."
The family has reached their goal of 1.8 million dollars. The clinical trial will be ready as soon as summer 2015.