Girls just want to help

Published 4:33 am Thursday, December 4, 2003

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
EDWARDSBURG -- "It's hard to talk about it," said Sheila Arisman. It's even hard to think about -- your child having a terrible incurable illness when she's so full of life.
Mark and Sheila Arisman of Edwardsburg together now have a family of five children, ranging in age from 11 to 16.
The 15-year-old they describe as "the happiest most go-lucky girl in the house" is Keira. In September they learned the problems she had with her feet, causing her to have surgery on both, was just a part of a bigger problem -- Hallervorden-Spatz Disease.
As affected individuals age, they may eventually lose control of voluntary movement. Her walking and her motor skills are slipping along with additional learning skills have led Keira to be transferred to the Marcellus School system, instead of the Edwardsburg High School where her friends are freshmen.
Her friends are sticking by Keira, even though she is no longer walking the halls with them every day, as she did since sixth grade.
Friends Gwen Fleming, Adrienne Jacquez, Candace Shea, Ashley Groeneveld, and Angie Bronicki have continued to have Keira join in their activities. their parents too have joined together to help their daughters' friend.
Together they have planned a Teen Dance to be held this Saturday, Dec. 6 at the American Legion, 25751 U.S 12 in Edwardsburg.
Shafer's Meats has donate hot dogs and others will be helping with the music and door prizes. Tickets are $5 and are being sold by the girls or through the Arismans at 269/663-5451.
Other ways they are helping is by setting up a bank account for her and her own web site to receive well wishes. The girls also had a fun evening at an area hotel. A co-worker of her father's at Forest River has also bought Keira a scooter and had a lift put on the family's van.
Her treatment consists of Botox shots every three months, costing $2,800. "They help to relax the muscles," her father said. Secondly, Keira takes an oral medication called baclofen.