The Green Hill community is fighting for Eli

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Green Hill community isn't a very large part of Florence, but it's a community that the Gist family said has big hearts.

In December, 6-year-old Eli Gist was diagnosed with a rare blood condition of low platelets called ITP, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura.

"Eli came home from school one day and said he fell down," said his mother Lisa. "When he lifted up his shirt, he had this huge bruise on his chest. He had these black blisters coming up inside of his mouth, they ended up telling us to get to the emergency room."

Eli remembers the hospital visits, but promises he wasn't scared.

"I had to go to the doctor, get my blood work," Eli said. "Sometimes I have to get a treatment."

ITP is a condition doctors know very little about, and the Gists said no one patient is like the other. They take it day by day.

"It can just spontaneously come up, and then it could just disappear as fast as it came up," said Eli's father Mike. "He could be in remission, and then out of no where one year later have a low count again."

On Tuesday, they got good news. Eli's platelets are at 41,000.  Doctor's at the Children's Hospital in Birmingham said he's healthy enough to go to school. But, he'll be sitting out of P.E.

Those trips to and from Birmingham have taken a toll on the family, especially since Lisa quit her job to take care of Eli. It's a lifestyle change to say the least.

"A normal bump to the head could be fatal for him where it might not be for someone else," she said.

So, there's a lot of expenses. But, so far, the community has helped tremendously. The Gists set up a YouCaring site to help cover medical costs. You can donate too by clicking here.

"Everyone, especially Rogers School has been so giving," said Mike. "They helped both kids have a Christmas."

"We're hoping it just goes away," Lisa added. "We pray every night."

You can also help by donating plasma. That's a huge contribution to ITP treatments. Also, you can help more children like Eli by supporting the Birmingham Children's Hospital.


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