Two sisters from Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula are one step closer to a diagnosis for their mystery illness, and hope a specialist in the U.S. has some answers for them.
Jacinda Hodder, 25, has been visiting doctors and specialists across Canada for two decades, but has yet to receive a diagnosis for an illness that has affected her motor skills since she was five years old.
Hodder has had difficulty walking for most of her life, and her legs have been steadily deteriorating.
She has difficulty swallowing and talking, and doctors have told her she could lose the use of her arms and hands.
Her family and friends in Port au Bras have been steadily fundraising, and now have $50,000 for her to consult a specialist in the U.S. who has expressed interest in her case.
Hodder said she's cautiously hopeful about how the consultation at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore will go.
"I'm kind of excited and kind of nervous. I have mixed feelings, because I don't know what to expect from it," she said.
"There is just one thing – I wish it would have happened a lot earlier, when I was younger, but I had to wait until I got older so I could do the research myself."
Hodder said the stakes are high for her to find out what's wrong with her, because her younger sister has the same symptoms.
The sisters dream of a cure, but would be happy with a diagnosis.
"I was waiting 25 years for this, and it's finally happened," said Hodder.
The family has prepared a list of questions to bring to the consultation.
Hodder said a negative outcome or no diagnosis at all would be deeply disappointing but they plan to keep searching.
They said if things don't go well with this specialist, there is another lead in the U.S. to pursue.