Face of a ‘Miracle’

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sometimes it takes a miracle to be a miracle.

Case in point, 8-year-old Red Level School third grader Grayson “Graysie” Lee.

From the top of her brown head to the tips of her tennis shoed feet and to the mischievous sparkle in her brown eyes between, Graysie doesn’t look like a sick person — but she is.

Graysie has what doctors describe as an autoimmune disorder that makes it nearly impossible for the body to fight off sickness, her mother, Loryn, said.

“What happens is that the infection started out in her ears — we just can’t get rid of it,” she said. “It’s throughout her body, in her blood, in her bones. We don’t know what’s going to happen to her or how things are going to turn out.”

What happens, Loryn explained, is that the body doesn’t produce platelets and white blood cells — the needed infection fighting components required for a healthy body.

Loryn said doctors do not know what caused Graysie’s condition.

Graysie is required to undergo routine blood transfusions and antibiotic treatments, both of which she now takes under the direction of her mother at home. However, that wasn’t always the case.

“Graysie has had 34 surgeries since she was 6 months old,” Loryn said. “All of her procedures were done at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. She’s had to have a central line put in her chest and all sorts of things.

“Our last trip was in February, Graysie was really, really sick — as sick as she’d ever been,” she said. “She had a fever of 106 (degrees), seized at home. We had to call the ambulance and go straight to Birmingham. We hadn’t long gotten home from spending three weeks there back at Christmas when she got an infection in her central line. That was the worst it’s ever been.”

Loryn said blood work showed Graysie should have been comatose.

“Instead she was having a wheelchair race down the hall,” she said. “That just shows how determined she is.”

Trips like that take a toll the Lee family — both emotionally and financially.

“Our family is just great,” Loryn said. “My husband works offshore, but with his mom and my mom — we make it work.

“And it’s expensive — there’s the gas, the food, the lodging,” she said. “I’m grateful to say thanks to Meredith’s Miracles for the help they’ve given us. It’s made it somewhat easier.”

Loryn said she “asked” for help once from the local non-profit organization dedicated to helping families with non-medical related expenses.

“Graysie was in the hospital and I couldn’t stay with her in the room,” she said. “I was going to sleep in a chair in the waiting room, but thanks to Meredith’s Miracles, I didn’t have to.”

And the organization’s generosity didn’t stop there. Often, when word was received that Graysie was in the hospital, Loryn would get a call to “check the account.”

“They told me I was no good to Graysie if I got sick,” she said. “They said go get a room, get some rest, a good meal and take a shower. I can’t tell people how much I appreciate all they have done for us.”

The future is uncertain for Graysie. She has been chosen to participate in a case study in Great Britain in which doctors aim to determine the cause of the autoimmune disorder and hopefully develop a cure.

“Every day I thank God my child is alive,” Loryn said. “She’s such a trouper. To watch her come out of stuff and how she handles things, it’s amazing. It’s a miracle.”

Graysie is the daughter of Loryn and Russell Lee of Red Level. She has a sister, 10-year-old Lauren, and brother, 5-year-old Jentry.