Merced kids raise thousands to help classmate battling neurofibromatosis

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Dakota Anderson's days used to be filled with school and friends, now the 11-year-old's days are filled with MRI scans, weekly chemotherapy sessions and almost 10 different daily medications. (KFSN)

Several students in Merced came together to help a girl battling a rare disease. Londyn Ekizian is a 6th-grader in Merced who says her friend is now undergoing chemotherapy and decided to help her the only way she could.

Dakota Anderson's days used to be filled with school and friends, now the 11-year-old's days are filled with MRI scans, weekly chemotherapy sessions and almost 10 different daily medications. It's a list of things most 11-year-olds will never have to deal with in their lifetime.

She was diagnosed with Type 1 neurofibromatosis when she was just a few months old. The disease causes her to grow tumors throughout the nerves in her body at any time, and it also causes her to miss school often.

"It's really hard to see her not feeling well, pretty much 24/7," Dakota's mom April Anderson said. "She wakes up in the morning and says she doesn't feel good."

Her friend from school, Londyn, checks up on her.

"She would text me like right when I got home from school," she said. "I just don't know how she feels. She was trying to compare it to something, and she's like it's not comparable. I can't do it. It's really sad."

Anderson was then diagnosed with a tumor on her brain stem in September, causing her to miss a class trip and that's when Londyn decided to step in and help.

"I wanted to make a difference in her life," Londyn said.

She started selling bracelets with the hashtag "ImwithDakota" and the bible verse Joshua 1:9 at her school, Providence Christian. Londyn said she raised the money by collecting cans and bottles during her brother's little league baseball games.
She says she brought the bracelets to school expecting to raise a couple of hundred dollars, but by the second day, she already raised more than $2,000.

"I told my mom, 'Mom, I got a check for $2,400,'" Londyn said. "She said, 'No it's not, let me see it."

When Dakota came back to school, her friends surprised her by holding signs welcoming her back and presenting her a check for a little more than $2,800 dollars to help with costs. Both she and her mom couldn't believe it.

"It's so cool that so many people are doing it," Dakota said.

Londyn said she will continue sales as long as Dakota is still battling the disease and hopes her friend will soon be back by her side.

"It's sad," Londyn said. "All of our friends, like Anika and Breanna, we really miss her."

Bracelets are still for sale at Providence Christian School and Stoneridge Christ, and people can e-mail: ekizian@sbcglobal.net regarding donations.
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