CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — One Chattanooga family is struggling to get their teenager the medical treatment she needs after she was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder.
Savannah Petree is like any typical teenager.
“I'll be 17 on Wednesday,” said Savannah.
She loves to hang out with her friends and score the winning goal for her team. But two years ago, her health put her on the bench.
“Not being able to play sports was the hardest for me,” said Savannah.
Instead of shopping for her prom dress she was shopping for doctors.
“Then she was fainting all the time. On the way to school, at school,” said her mother, Addie Petree.
Nearly a year went by before doctors discovered Savannah had a rare blood disorder called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS.
It's a condition that causes her to pass out when she stands up. POTS also causes confusion and extreme fatigue because blood doesn’t flow to the brain like it should.
“I remember one time watching Savannah bend over to tie her shoe and she couldn't remember how,” said Addie.
The 16-year-old’s condition is severe so she can't go to school but her friends make sure she's always invited to football games and school dances.
“I usually don't make it to the dance, but we go and eat dinner and take pictures,” said Savannah.
In order to get Savannah back on her feet, doctors say she needs to complete a recovery program at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. The treatment costs $60,000. The family says they must have $47,000 to deposit in order to attend March 25.
They say insurance won't cover a penny.
“They called my doctor and asked if it's life or death. They said basically since I’m not dying they're not covering it,” said Savannah.
So the community is pulling together to pay for Savannah's treatment. Orange Theory Fitness on Igou Gap Road is one of several businesses that's hosting a fundraiser.
On Monday, March 18 they will be rowing for Savannah. You can sign up for 15 minute increments. Every 1,000 meters rowed in your session is a $10 donation.
If you still want to donate but are unable to row on Monday, there are other ways to help. Click here for the GoFundMe page.
Applebee's on Shallowford Village Drive will also be hosting a pancake breakfast and raffle to raise money on Saturday, March 16 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Click here for more information.