Bullied while battling disease - raising awareness - KLFY News 10

Bullied while battling disease - raising awareness

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Eleven-year old Amanda Funderbunk gets ready for the day as anyone would. However, unlike many children her age, she won't be going to school for a while. The young girl is homeschooled, due to battling bullies and a rare disease.

"I've been bullied my whole life," she said with tears in her eyes. "Everyone, even people who said they were my friends."

She pulled out a journal detailing incidents of being called names like, fat, ugly and sasquatch.

"It was my daily routine. I didn't know what was coming when I walked into schools, but I knew it was coming," she explained.

Through impartial, adult eyes, one could possibly see Amanda as a beautiful, strong girl. Through the eyes of bullies, one might see an easy target, as she has acne, is slightly overweight and is balding in some spots.

Amanda said she would often tell bullies, "It's not my fault." Although it would work to no avail, what bullies failed to see, was a girl suffering from a rare disease.

For years, Amanda and her mom Kristy Lejeune, struggled to figure out what was causing her extreme acne, un-natural weight gain, balding, sleep apnea and muscle aches.

Lejeune said, "We went to cardiologists, nutritionists, general physicians. One doctor even tried to diagnose her with ADHD."

However, Lejeune knew that wasn't the issue, and pushed until her family doctor in Jonesville, LA gave her daughter's illness a name.

"He looked at all her medical records and the more he looked the more he knew it was Cushings."

Cushings Syndrome, described all Amanda's symptoms. Now, she knows it really isn't her fault, but the result of a possible tumor on her pituitary gland that causes elevated levels of the hormone cortisol.

Her doctor said it is possible Amanda has been suffering from the disease since the age of five. As one of the youngest possible cases, she was accepted as a case study at Texas Children's Hospital where she will also receive treatment and the possible removal of her pituitary gland.

"I cried once or twice thinking about what they might have to do," the well-spoken Amanda said. "Then, I make jokes and try to look at the positive." She said she plans to get well, educate other's about Cushings and help other children that have been bullied.

To follow Amanda's story, visit her Facebook Page, "Support for Gracie Bug." Her first visit to Texas Children's is Wednesday, September 4, 2013.

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