TUCSON, AZ — Four-year-old Emily Martinez Sprague is no different than any other child in that she loves to play.
About one year ago, her parents say they noticed her skin was reacting differently. Her mother, Stephanie Sprague, says she began to notice a skin issue they thought was eczema.
Sprague and her father, Jesse Martinez, say they took their daughter to have several tests done and all of them led to the same conclusion, eczema.
After going through months of treatment seeing no improvements, Sprague says she knew something was wrong.
"She had been to four different doctors at that time, she had been on different prescriptions, medications, topical medications and when I went to her four-year-old check up in the end of December, I told them that we needed to figure this out now because I just knew that this was not eczema."
The results came in and Emily as diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes skin rashes and muscle inflammation.
"Untreated it can become fatal. Children can lose all mobility to stand up on their own, sit cross-legged."
"We wear this brave face everyday because she is so strong and she is so strong and stronger than me, stronger than him. So you put this brave face on and you treat her just like any other kid and at night when you're by yourself you can let go a little bit."
Now, Emily takes a variety of new medications and topical creams. The disease will never go away. Sprague says the best they can do now is fight toward remission.
If you want to contribute, click on the link and see Emily's fundraiser page.