NJ family rendered helpless by mystery illness

Imagine you are 17-years-old: you just graduated from high school, you have the whole world ahead of you, then suddenly it all changes.

Rivka Herzfeld remembers the moment she knew her life would never be the same, "I was on my senior trip with graduating class. We were away somewhere in New Hampshire or something. We were having a party, dancing, and I fell, and I fell. I was in high heel shoes and I couldn't get up."

While others might think it was just a clumsy moment, Rivka knew it was much more. That fall confirmed that she suffers from the same neurological disorder as her three siblings.

Over the past decade, the four Herzfeld children progressively lost muscle tone and function. As a result, they can't walk properly or complete everyday tasks. But, the worst part? It's an illness without a name, stumping doctors left and right.

Rivka is the oldest of the Herzfeld children, and the last to succumb to the condition. Her 22-year-old sister, Tziporah was the first, followed by 18-year-old Tzvi and then 15-year-old Racheli.

Tzvi is the only one among the Herzfelds who can't walk. Despite running, climbing and jumping as a young child, he now relies on a motorized scooter to get around. "When I was thirteen I remember not being able to walk straight. I started walking on my foot. When I started high school I couldn't walk anymore Honestly, I have lost all hope."

Their parents, Esther and Arthur, say the illness has left an emotional and financial burden. They estimate they have roughly $100,000 of debt. The costs are too much to bear. The doctor appointments, the therapy sessions and the everyday costs just to maintain a home only crack the surface. The family wants to renovate their home to make it more accommodating for their needs, but the money just isn't there.

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