Two sisters on the Burin Penisula are living with a debilitating mystery disease, and local residents are fundraising to send one of them to a specialist in the United States to seek a diagnosis.

Jacinda Hodder

Jacinda Hodder's condition is deteriorating. (CBC)

Jacinda Hodder, 25, of Port au Bras, has had difficulty walking for most of her life. 

"Kids didn't know what illness I had so they used to point and laugh all the time because of the way I used to walk," said Jacinda Hodder.  

"And like, that hurt."

Her legs have been deteriorating, and she has had difficulty swallowing and talking. Doctors have told her she could lose the use of her arms and hands.    
 
Hodder has spent the last 20 years seeing local doctors and specialists in Toronto and Montreal to find answers about her condition. She even went through painful nerve surgery on her leg, to no avail. 
 
"Nothing came out of it," said Jacinda Hodder.  "They were testing for a different disease I didn't have, so that was a waste of time, really."

Younger sister showing symptoms

Hodder's younger sister Janica has been recently showing the same symptoms.

Janica Hodder

Janica Hodder is having difficulty walking and shows the same symptoms as her sister, Jacinda. (CBC)

That is depressing," said Jacinda Hodder of her sister's condition. 

"All the doctors can tell me is that it is a coincidence that she is like me."

"I need a better reason than that," Hodder continued. "I don't know what disease I have." 

Residents of Port au Bras have been raising money to help Jacinda Hodder go to Baltimore, Maryland, to see a medical specialist who has agreed to take on her case. 

Their goal is to raise $50,000 for the expensive American medical care, and to solve the mystery of the Hodder sisters' debilitating conditions. 

"I just think of my sister and what she went through and just understanding that she's going through the same thing as me is really comforting," said Janica Hodder.

"I hope I do not progress to the point where I can't do anything for myself," said Janica Hodder. "I just want to be independent." 

"I just am hoping for a diagnosis."