Where has Merri Been??
We've all heard the saying--life is short. It's meaning, however, often gets overlooked. But, a Portage girl's story puts it all in perspective.
You wouldn't know it by looking at her, but Dyan Orr is battling a deadly disease.
"My right lung is almost gone and it's not working too good," she says.
Breathing is just one complication facing the fifth grader. Dyan suffers from a rare lymphatic disorder.
"It's lymphangiomatosis," says Mike Orr.
Dyan's father says the terminal condition affects the body's ability to fight off infection.
"It goes in and it sees a problem and it wants to take it over and destroy everything there including good things," says Mike.
He knows his days with his daughter are numbered. But, Dyan continues to prove she's a fighter. Doctors didn't expect her to live this long.
"We don't hide anything from her. We make her part of every decision that is made," Mike says.
At the young age of 10, Dyan says she's prepared to leave this world and enter the next.
"I get to meet my grandma and grandpa who I've never met before and some of my aunts and uncles and other family members," says Dyan.
Dyan's life will likely soon end, but research on her condition is far from over.
And, that's why, following her death, she wants doctors to use her body for further testing.
"They'll know more what happened because they'll do tests on me. They might know more," Dyan says.
Her parents take comfort in knowing Dyan will continue her helping ways after she's gone.
"I don't think I'll be ready. I mean that's my youngest daughter. My youngest child," Mike says.
Dyan is a strong believer in angels. Her dog is named Angel. A pair of angel wings hang in her room. Soon, she says she'll be an angel, herself, looking down on her family and friends from heaven.
"I think it's just like down here except full of clouds," says Dyan.
But until then, the Orr family is making the most of each day and raising awareness about a disease that gets little attention.A foundation has been set up in Dyan's name. To donate or learn more about her illness, go to www.dyanmarieorr.com.