STANLY, NC (WBTV) - Yet another case of a child in our area with POTS. I just don't believe anymore that this is a "rare" disease.
18-year-old Haley Franke in Albemarle, says she fights passing out every day of her life.
She used to be active in gymnastics and loved turning flips, says mom Tasha. Now she is struggling moment-to-moment with memory, weakness and headaches.
"Raising awareness about POTS has to be done," Tasha wrote in an impassioned email. "It has to."
POTS is a form of Dysautonomia which includes seizures and extremely high and low blood pressure. Haley was diagnosed with POTS last year as a junior at South Stanly High School.
Hers is an interesting case because three years before she was diagnosed, Haley was involved in a bus accident which caused her to be weak and dizzy. After living with side effects from the crash for a few years, she hit 11th grade and started getting seriously weak, having no energy and was constantly throwing up.
The POTS diagnosis finally explained why her symptoms had gotten worse.
"Haley takes a lot of medication," mom Tasha says. "She also needs a wheel chair, shower chair, and has to go to therapy. The POTS syndrome drains her. Her heart is always racing and she'll collapse for no reason."
Along with POTS Haley has blood disorders that keep her blood from clotting and – this sounds crazy but her mom says it's a common occurrence – Haley will start bleeding from her eyes because her blood isn't circulating properly.
Because of these setbacks, Haley can't go to school. She is a senior but takes classes at home.
It's a difficult way to live. But Tasha says Haley doesn't let the diseases hold her back. She loves to hang out with her friends when she can and is a true fighter.
"We're going to a neurologist to find out why she's having these seizures," Tasha said. "But we'd love to be connected to some of these other local families also dealing with POTS. And we'd really love to bring some attention to this chronic disorder being overlooked by so many."
I've sent the emails for two other families of kids we've featured living with POTS – Hannah Guardado and Zach Casillo – to Tasha. Hopefully they'll connect. (I'll put their #MollysKids posts below in case you want more information on their stories.)
Who knows? Maybe introducing Haley to our ever-growing list of amazing #MollysKids will help bring some much-needed attention.
**Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it's written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.**