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The Carthage Press
  • Carthage family continues fundraiser into Saturday

  • Nothing seemed wrong with the little three-year-old boy playing in the sunshine Thursday morning.
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  • Nothing seemed wrong with the little three-year-old boy playing in the sunshine Thursday morning.
    Austin Neel, 3, ran around the yard, throwing and kicking balls and tried to ride a scooter down the sidewalk. To him, it was time to play outside. For his mother and family, it's a time of fundraising to help pay medical and travel expenses for his case of Eosiniphilic esophagitis.
    “It's hard,” said Austin's mother, Shelly Neel. “He's very limited on what he can eat.”
    Eosiniphilic esophagitis is an inflammatory condition of the esophagus that affects both children and adults, (more common in men.) Austin throws up and has allergic reactions to dairy products, and cannot have spinach, strawberries or pasta. He also battles severe eczema, a skin condition.
    When Austin was born, he spent the first three weeks of his life in Freeman's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU.) He was diagnosed at the age of nine months with Eosiniphilic esophagitis.
    “We had to take him to the hospital numerous times because we didn't know what it was,” Shelly said.
    Austin is one of five children: Derrick, 2; Eli, 4; Matt, 6; and Amiee, 9. Shelly said they're supportive of their sibling, and his regular check-ups to Children's Mercy in Kansas City. Due to the amount of care Austin requires, Shelly had to quit work.
    “We have food stamps and we receive child support for Amiee, that's it,” she said. “It's hard.”
    The family lives with Shelly's mother, Della Neel, and attend the World Covenant Outreach Church, Carthage.
    A bake sale and yard sale started Thursday morning, and will continue today and Saturday (from 8 a.m.-early afternoon) at 1410 Olive St., Carthage.
    To keep up with Austin, updates will be made to the “Help Support Austin” Facebook event.
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