MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Michigan model for American Girl Dolls is opening up about her health.
Alyea Rourke, who has modeled as the Hawaiian American Girl doll Nanea Mitchell, says she's been diagnosed with a disease so rare it took nearly two years to diagnose.
"It seemed like a giant dream to me. I was just so scared I immediately thought I will never be able to skate again," the now 14-year-old said.
Alyea was diagnosed with chronic recurrent multi-focal osteomyelitis (CRMO), a potentially serious and unique form of bone disease that can be long-lasting. Right now, there's no known cure, doctors say.
"They described to us was possibly an ear issue, or it was an infection in the jaw or it could’ve been a tooth decay or something like that. So we went probably through about seven doctors before we got an answer," said Lynda Rourke, Alyea's mother.
Despite the pain affecting her ability to skate and chance to live a regular teen life, the 14-year-old has tried to stay positive.
"I'm not letting it stop me from skating and doing what I love," she said.
Alyea's family has set up a GoFundMe account for support with medical expenses.