Local Girl Dies From Mystery Ailment

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Haleigh Glick turned 9 March 1 in the intensive care unit at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Six days later she died -- losing a long struggle against an unknown disease that not only took her life but also consumed her family.

Haleigh had been sick -- very sick -- for most of her life. It began when she was 1 with a series of infections and pneumonia. Soon her ears and sinuses were involved -- then her blood.

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Haleigh Glick

"Her body attacked her red blood cells and ate them up," her mother, Rhonda Dobson, said. "It just kind of progressed to all parts of her body. She had undiagnosed skin lesions, interstitial lung disease, hemolytic anemia and polysaccharide deficiency -- a disease where your body is unable to fight off sugar-coated bacteria.

"Then, they recently told me she had suffered some strokes," Dobson, said. "They had her on IVIG, a gamma globulin that is supposed to allow her to fight off infections, and they think that's what might have caused the strokes."

Haleigh's problems turned life upside down for Dobson, her 15-year-old daughter Meghan, and her ex-husband, Ken Glick.

Dobson finally used up her family medical leave, and the leave donated by her co-workers at Pioneer Title. She had to give up her job and put her Payson house on the market.

Either Dobson or Glick was with their daughter all the time. Meghan split time between Payson, where she's a freshman at Payson High School, and the hospital.

Haleigh was born in Lancaster, Pa. By the time her parents moved to Payson, when she was 5, she had already seen literally thousands of doctors.

"She was at Johns Hopkins and Hershey," Dobson said. "She went to several places where they did the grand rounds where they'd bring in hundreds of doctors."

The family moved to Payson in hopes that a change of climate would make a difference.

"When you get to a point, you'll try anything," Dobson said.

Since they moved to Payson, Haleigh had been to the University of Arizona Medical Center, Los Angeles Children's Hospital and now Phoenix Children's Hospital. When she died, doctors were no closer to diagnosing what was wrong with her than they ever were.

"They just did her second lung biopsy and sent it all over -- even to National Jewish in Colorado," Dobson said. "There was something there, but nobody knew what it was, which made it hard to treat."

While her mother suspected that the strokes had caused her to be paralyzed on the right side, Haleigh's mind never stopped working.

"She couldn't talk, but she was very smart," Dobson said. "You can tell she still knew everything she ever did from the way she nodded her head."

Haleigh rallied on her birthday, and was about to be taken out of ICU. Then, as had happened so many times, she took a turn for the worse.

Wednesday, doctors barely saved her life when her heart stopped beating. When it stopped again Friday morning, it was all over.

The company Glick works for, Young and Burton, recently dropped its health insurance benefit for employees. Even though Haleigh was covered by AHCCCS, the state medical plan, medical and related expenses have decimated the family finances.

To help with expenses, her co-workers at Pioneer Title have opened the Haleigh Glick Benefit Account at The Stockmen's Bank. For those who want to donate, the account number is 2703004727.

Dobson believes the doctors did all they could for Haleigh, but they had given up on trying to find out what was wrong with her.

"They're great doctors, and they all know her," she said. "She's been in the hospital every month since November of 2001. They just couldn't pinpoint the problem. They think it looks like this, but then it doesn't. It's similar to that, but then it's not. I've had a lot of doctors tell me we might never figure it out and that one day, it will be named after Haleigh because she's the first one to have it."

A few days before Haleigh died, her mother tried to find words to adequately express what her daughter had been through:

"They've checked everything, and this poor child just keeps hanging on. It hasn't been a very fair life," she said.

Haleigh's funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. today (Tuesday) at Mountain Bible Church. Interment will take place at Payson Pioneer Cemetery.

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