Community hosts fish fry to benefit local family
Many gathered on Cook's corner in Bonifay to fry fish for a good cause.
"The whole community has gotten behind this. It's been absolutely amazing," said Joe Harris, who helped organize the event.
People rallied together to raise money for the Smith family. Their daughter WesliAnn was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy called West Syndrome.
"It's very, very serious. It's pretty rare, and hers is extremely rare because she doesn't exhibit the physical seizures. It was occurring on her brain," said her father Lieutenant Clint Smith with the Holmes County Sheriff's Office.
It's a disease that requires the family to make frequent trips to Dothan and Birmingham for treatment, racking up medical costs.
"It's extensive, I mean every time they take a trip to Dothan, they have doctors in Dothan and Birmingham; so it's travel, sometimes it's hotels, and stays overnight. It's a heavy burden," grandmother Marcella Scurlock said.
"They say a typical pediatric doctor may only see this case once in every fifteen years," Lt. Smith said.
Dr. Rezk at Rainbow Pediatrics in Panama City Beach said a disease like this can lead to a challenging childhood, requiring intensive speech therapy and intensive physical therapy.
He also said continuous seizures will damage your brain.
"And if it's not treated appropriately and if not managed appropriately, it can cause damage to the brain long term," Dr. Rezk said.
A future the Smiths are trying to prevent, but needing help along the way.
"There's no place like home as they say. And that's true. The family, the community comes together in times. And we're not used to being on the receiving end, and it's extremely humbling to us," Lt. Smith said.