Community grants wishes for local girl with Neuromyelitis Optica

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Arboni Brown received donations toward three “wishes” she made, thanks to the generosity and support of local community members who are part of the Pay It Forward Networking (PIFN) group. The community came together to give Brown gift card and certificate donations to send her on a shopping spree, spa treatments, and hairstyling sessions. These wishes were granted through donations from local community members via Pay It Forward Networking’s Facebook page.

Arboni has Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) and has also developed diabetes since her diagnosis two years ago. NMO is a rare central nervous system disorder that primarily affects the eye nerves and the spinal cord and can also affect the brain. The cause of NMO is unknown and symptoms include blindness, weakness or paralysis in the arms and legs, painful spasms, loss of sensation, uncontrollable vomiting and hiccups, and bladder/bowel dysfunction due to spinal cord damage.

The Natchitoches Junior High eighth grade honor roll student and her mother travel to University Health in Shreveport every two weeks for check-ups as well as regular chemotherapy. Although her medical team says there is no current cure for NMO, Arboni assures her mother that, “I am not going anywhere until the Lord calls me.” She, one day, hopes to become a nurse and help others.

“In just a few short hours after posting Arboni’s wishes on our Facebook page, each one was granted a number of times over! It’s always so amazing to see the generosity of strangers and communities coming together with each wish we post. I still can’t believe the support we have received from the nearly 20,000 Facebook followers since we began in 2013,” says PIFN Executive Board Member, Laci Stokes.

Pay It Forward Networking is a grassroots foundation founded by former Natchitoches resident, Kassi Graves Robinson. Based out of Bossier City, PIFN coordinates the granting of wishes through networking for children with special needs, facing adversity, and/or disabilities. PIFN brings individuals together with the common goal of providing hope and dreams to children in those circumstances. A wish granted gives recipients a sense of comfort knowing the love and generosity in the world. The wishes granted are made possible by individuals simply combining resources and using their connections for a greater cause.