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Autoimmune Diseases, Eosinophilic Gastroenteropathy

20-year-old Creates Unique Stuffed Animals to Help Kids Understand Illness

By Megan Maginity

When Haley Royko graduated from high school, nothing was going to stop her from going to college — not even the disease that changed her life forever.

Now she’s on a mission to help children with life-threatening diseases understand their situation.

She knows how they feel.

When she was 12 years old, the 2010 Neuqua Valley High School graduate was diagnosed with eosinophilic gastroenteropathy, an autoimmune disease. That news would change her daily lifestyle and eating habits forever. She also was diagnosed with a genetic mitochondrial disease in February.

“I always had a lot of abdominal pain and got sick from everything I ate,” she said. “I was seeing doctors for a long time, and they never wanted to run tests. Finally they did a colonoscopy and found out I had this disease.”

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