“We need to turn her room into a sanctuary,” Family clings to faith as Oklahoma 4-month-old battles rare polio-like illness

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SHAWNEE, Okla. - An Oklahoma family is clinging to faith after they received a devastating diagnosis.

Their 4-month-old daughter is now battling acute flaccid myelitis - often referred to as AFM or the "polio-like illness."

There is no treatment for AFM, which affects the nervous system, more specifically, the spinal cord.

It's very rare too; she's only the third person in the state to be diagnosed with this. The CDC estimates that less than two in one million children in the U.S. will get AFM every year.

At Integris Children's, a tiny fighter clings to her little giraffe while her parents endure what no one hopes they ever have to.

"It's beyond fathomable," said Josh Trimble. "It's still surreal. Just to imagine you know - not being able to hold our baby girl, right?"

Little Opal Rose Trimble was born last October, fitting perfectly into the Trimble's now family of five.

"She loves her brother and sister and they are the ones who can make her laugh and talk and coo the most," said Opal's mother, Gretchen.

But all of that changed on February 26, when Gretchen Trimble got a call from Mother's Day Out saying Opal was fussy and weak, far from her usual loving self.

"And when I walked into the room, I knew something was wrong," Gretchen said.

Opal was tested for flu and RSV - both came back negative.

Her parents brought her home, but things got progressively worse with a high fever.

"She would look at us but she was just very weak and limp and lethargic," said Gretchen. "That's the best way we can describe it."

They took Opal back to the doctor where she tested positive for the flu.

The Trimbles were told to rush her to the E.R. at Integris Children's.

"It was tough," Getchen said. "She was struggling a lot."

Opal was finally diagnosed with the incredibly rare AFM.

The portion of her spinal cord it's in affects her breathing and her arms.

To make matters worse, she's also fighting a respiratory virus, taking a big toll on her little body.

"We see this not just as a condition, but we focus on the position that she's in, that this is a once in a million opportunity," Josh said.

She's already impacted many.

Members from their church, New Hope Baptist in Shawnee, as well as strangers, visiting and sending well wishes and - something else.

"The Lord led me to say 'We need to turn her room into a sanctuary,'" said Josh.

Little Opal's room is now covered in scripture - as she's prayed over every day.

"We learned not to anticipate anymore than the next report and we celebrate the small progresses," Gretchen said.

The Trimbles said on Tuesday Opal was beginning to breathe and move a little more on her own.

They are easing her off the ventilator.

To say thank you for all the support they've had in their community, they will be holding a time of worship and prayer in Opal's honor.

It will be held Wednesday night at Oklahoma Baptist University at 7 p.m. in the Raley Chapel.

They're hoping people of all walks of faith will come together.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help with medical expenses.


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