An online fund-raising effort has been launched for a 5-year-old Sudbury girl who is being treated at Boston Children’s Hospital after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis, the mosquito-borne illness.
Close friends of the family of the child, Sophia Garabedian, are soliciting donations for her medical care on the GoFundMe website. The appeal had generated more than $88,000 as of Tuesday morning.
“On Tuesday, September 3rd, Sophia Garabedian was rushed from her home in Sudbury, MA to Boston Children’s Hospital in an ambulance after experiencing severe flu symptoms, headaches, and appeared to be having a seizure,” the GoFundMe page says. “She had a very high fever and brain swelling and quickly became unresponsive.”
The page says tests came back positive for EEE on Sept. 6.
“Her parents have been at Children’s Hospital with her this entire time, and it has been truly heartbreaking for all of their family and friends,” the appeal says. “She remains in the ICU and while the family has a full medical insurance plan through their employer, the out-of-pocket medical costs will be massive.”
All funds raised will go to Sophia’s family.
“The Garabedian family will be the named beneficiary on this account and will receive the funds directly to be used for medical care and rehabilitation costs,” the appeal says. “These costs include neurologist support as Sophia’s brain heals, physical therapy as she regains use of her body, and in-patient care for an extended period of time. We need your help. Let’s remove the financial worry from these amazing parents and let them continue to do what they are doing — being by Sophia’s bedside 24X7 helping her to heal and recover.”
Page administrators are asking the press to refrain from contacting Sophia’s parents.
“Please do not reach out to the family,” the posting says. “They are 100% focused on their daughter’s recovery. We ask that media please respect their privacy. This page was created with permission from the family.”
The appeal also urges social media users to spread the word online with the hashtag #SuperSophia.
In a related development, the state Department of Agricultural Resources said on its website that a major aerial spraying initiative was set to commence Tuesday night in parts of the state where mosquitoes are presenting a danger. The agency said it will conduct aerial spraying in specific areas of Middlesex, Norfolk, and Worcester counties and continuing for several evenings.
Communities fully in the spray zone include Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Maynard, Natick, Sherborn, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland, Bellingham, Franklin, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, Walpole, Auburn, Berlin, Blackstone, Boylston, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Oxford, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Webster, and Westborough, according to the agricultural resources department.
Communities partially in the spray zone include Weston, Dover, Foxborough, Needham, Norwood, Sharon, Wellesley, Westwood, Wrentham, Bolton, Charlton, Clinton, Dudley, Harvard, Leicester, West Boylston, and Worcester, the department said.
Eastern equine encephalitis is a potentially fatal disease that can cause brain inflammation and severe neurological complications, according to federal officials. There is no treatment. One victim, a Fairhaven woman, died last month as a result of the disease.
Sophia’s infection was announced Friday along with the infection of a Northborough woman in her 60s. There have been seven human cases of EEE this year in Massachusetts, according to the state Department of Public Health.
Thirty-six communities, including Sudbury, are now at critical risk while 42 are at high risk and 115 are at moderate risk for EEE, the DPH said Friday. A 9/11 commemoration in Sudbury planned for Wednesday has been canceled because of the risk, as have evening activities sponsored by the town and local schools.