Florida 16-year-old student’s life changed by mystery illness, family seeks help

Valeria Arraiz came home feeling sick back in January

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – 16-year-old Valeria Arraiz is home and slowly recovering after being in the hospital for nearly a month.

She’s a student at West Orange High School, but she hasn’t seen the inside of a classroom since she came home feeling ill back in January.

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Her parents took her to AdventHealth for Children Hospital, where she stayed for weeks.

Valeria’s father, Carlos Arraiz, said she could not eat, walk or talk. Medical professionals have run several tests but have yet to diagnose the teen.

Carlos said the toughest part of it all is the fact that doctors can’t tell them why this is happening.

“The doctor said, ‘You need to wait. You need to wait. You need to be patient,” Carlos Arraiz said.

Valeria Arraiz is the oldest of three siblings. Her siblings are helping her mom and dad support her on this unexpected health journey.

For now, Carlos Arraiz is the only one working while his wife takes care of Valeria at home all day.

The family moved to Central Florida from Venezuela in 2017, so it’s difficult to find financial and emotional support.

“The first week, I was crying I think every day because you never know why or what happened, this situation,“ Carlos Arraiz said.

He said the family is praying each day that Valeria Arraiz makes a full recovery soon.

“Valeria, she’s amazing, she’s nice, she’s, you know, she’s good student. She has good grades,” Carlos said.

Valeria also loved modeling; she participated in pageants like Miss Latina Tampa.

Even while battling an illness, the star student cannot wait to get back to the books.

“Yesterday and today, she asked me, ‘Hey dad, can I come back to the school?” Carlos said.

Valeria’s teacher, Marisol Gerritsen, said she misses having her in the classroom every day.

She has been trying to contact people in the local government to help the family pay for rent since they are now bogged down with medical bills.

The family does have an active GoFundMe. If you would like to help them with a donation, click here.

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About the Author:

Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.