WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. - A community has come together to raise funds for a Williamstown woman who is fighting for her life after she was diagnosed with a rare disease.
Andrea Kirk was diagnosed with Devic's disease , also known as neuromyelitis optica, which is an inflammatory disease that attacks the spinal chord and optical nerves. The disease is often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis.
"It's a disease that's been around for a thousand years," said Andrea's mother-in-law, Judith Kirk.
A treatment is available for the bedridden mother and wife that her insurance plans to cover, however, she's struggling to find a way to get there.
"Because she is unable to sit up in a regular plane she actually has to go by air ambulance and with insurance as such that it is they don't view it as an emergency, therefore they won't cover it," said Judith Kirk.
The treatment she needs is at the Mayo Neurology Center in Phoenix, Ariz.
"The care that she's needed isn't available to us and we can't afford to send her where she needs to have help," said Andrea's husband, Kevin.
Her family would have to come up with $20,000 cash to transport her each way. The community has stepped in to help.
Last week Saint William Parish's fish fry collected money and plans to do so again this Friday.
"At church, a second collection was picked up for her. It hasn't just been our parish, it has been other Christian fellowships as well," said Judith.
Kevin's colleagues at Syncreon, a company that tests satellite radios and CD players in Hebron, Ky., held a benefit.
"We all love Kevin at work," said Barbie Fitzwater, Kevin's coworker. "He is good to every one of us at work. We just really hate to see him going throughout what he is going through."
A total of $17,000 has been raised so far.
"People I work with, and the community has showed a genuine care and it is overwhelming," said Kevin.
The community hopes to completely fund Andrea's transportation needs, and is asking for donations from the Tri-State. Donations can be sent to Saint Vincent de Paul Society, 6 Church Street, Williamstown, Ky. 41097.
Andrea is scheduled to have her surgery in Arizona on Monday.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.