THE lives of Seray Perez and her mother Therese were turned upside down when the nine-year-old was diagnosed with Lyme disease two years ago.
What began as acute chest pain developed into further symptoms and was eventually diagnosed through overseas testing as the bacterial illness.
"The diagnosis definitely came as a shock, but I had always suspected something wasn't quite right," Ms Perez said.
Living with the disease is a daily struggle, with Seray's chronic condition making it impossible for her to function as a normal nine-year-old.
"Seray struggles with seizures, blackouts and a collapsing larynx, among many other symptoms including chronic pain," Ms Perez said.
"She is now home schooled because of the severity of her condition," she said.
"I am her carer and her teacher as well as her mother, so this has financial implications as I am unable to work."
Adding to that financial stress, Lyme disease is not officially recognised in Australia so the family must travel overseas for Seray to receive treatment.
Her aunt and Therese's sister, Abigail, has set up an online fundraiser to help with the cost of travel and treatment.
Abigail said despite her challenges, Seray was a bright little girl who still manages to smile.
To donate, visit www.mycause.com.au/page/121307/miss-seray.