VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) - A young girl in the Wabash Valley is fighting for her life.
Audrey Mischler is only ten years old and is living with Neimann-Pick Disease Type C. Her father says she is one of only three people in the state living with this rare disease.
Audrey Mischler's family says she is a young, caring child who brings joy to everyone she sees. On March 4, her family received the devastating news that would impact their lives forever. Audrey was diagnosed with NPC.
"Most parents when you read those things you think that can't be my kid, that can't be what is wrong with them, there must be some other explanation" Jesse Mischler, Audrey's father, said.
According to the National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation, NPC is a rare inherited disease that prevents people from metabolizing cholesterol and other lipids within the body's cells. This leads to severe neurological problems that become worse over time. This includes difficulty in learning, thinking, walking, balancing, and basic motor skills.
"If I could do anything, if I could give an organ or my life for hers I would in a heartbeat," Mischler said.
The foundation adds there are only 500 known cases worldwide. But, doctors say this number could be even higher.
"I think it's probably underdiagnosed in that there are probably patients that are walking around that have NPC but are not diagnosed yet because they don't have enough symptoms," Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, a pediatric neurologist from Rush University Medical Center, said.
The family's hope is that Audrey's experience can bring more awareness to the community about this disease.
"We really want to build awareness of this because oftentimes we wonder and we think about how many other parents are out there that have been told their child is just handicapped or slow, Mischler said." Those parents could be robbed years of life because they don't know about this disease."