Teen battles mysterious kidney disease after participating in county fair

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ELKINS, Ark. (KFSM) — Mariah Center was diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome days after showing her lamb’s during the Washington County Fair in Elkins, Arkansas, leaving her parents in distress.

“It’s almost like I failed being a mom, like I couldn’t protect her.” said her mother Katie Center. Her father Anthony felt the same, “Seeing your kids and someone that you love and care for go through something like that it’s pretty tough.”

The aggressive kidney disease is often caused by E. coli. Although you can contract the bacteria from just about anywhere her family believes she picked it up from cattle at the fair. “Cattle are just more apt to carry it because of the way their gastric system works.” said her mother.

While Mariah continues to fight at Arkansas Children’s Hospital her parents are driving back and forth between Little Rock and Elkins as often as they can.

“Both of our places of employment have been understanding so far but you know as employment goes that could change.” said Katie.

To help the family financially, their friends have created several fundraising options from a go fund me to t-shirts, and even a hog raffle, leaving Mariah speechless. “She was almost in tears when I showed her everything that people were doing for her.” her mom said.