Teen siblings show courage despite incurable disease

PALMDALE, Calif. -- A brother and sister in Palmdale are facing extreme challenges every day as they both suffer from a rare disease that does not yet have a cure.

Seventeen-year-old Ashley Lewis was like any other funny, loving child until she was afflicted with Friedreich's ataxia, a rare recessive inherited disease causing progressive damage to the nervous system.

The disease, which has no cure, has confined her to a wheelchair.

Ashley's 20-year-old brother Andre was hit with the same disease.

"I get frustrated over time from this. I mean, it's hard doing this," he said.

Both are coping with their condition.

Ashley finds peace in her art as she draws and paints. Their mother is overwhelmed with their strength and courage.

Kristina Lewis said first her children loss their balance, then they developed scoliosis and had to have spinal fusions confining them to wheelchairs.

Without enough medical insurance to cover all their needs, Kristina does nearly everything for her children, including struggle to get them to their doctor's appointments in her car.

"A van or something custom to be able to put them into the car would be very helpful," Kristina said.

The single mother admits that working and caring for her children's many needs takes a toll, but she vows to endure no matter what.

"It's not about me. My life is them," she said, crying. "I want them to be happy. I want them to experience the things that I was able to experience in my life."

A GoFundMe page was set up to help Kristina get medical equipment for Ashley and Andre. To donate, click here.
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