Family Retains Normalcy While Dealing With Incurable Disease

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COLUMBIA - In the Kratzer home, there are four bubbly children running around, playing and giggling.  There are the one-year-old twins, Zackary and Owen, four-year-old Zoe wearing bright red glasses, and eight-year-old Kedzie.  

The kids all have an eosinophilic disorder, which has no cure. The treatment is simple: they just can't eat food.  

Mother Renee Kratzer has organized a fundraiser called Smiles for the Cured that will take place Saturday, Sunday, and on Nov.13th. Click here to visit her blog for more information. Brian Kratzer, father and photojournalist, will shoot 30 minute portrait sessions for $100 dollars. All of the money will go to the Cured Foundation, which then distributes the funds to researchers.

The disorder causes its sufferers' bodies to confuse food with parasites.  The body attacks, releasing toxins.  The side effects are excruciating.

Renee Kratzer described Kedzie's experience taking her first communion.  She said Kedzie took one bite of the bread and was up all night vomiting violently.  Other side effects the children experience are rashes, severe stomach pains, weakened legs and buckling joints.

Early on, Kedzie showed signs of some sort of illness, though a diagnosis came much later. After having two children with the disorder, the parents underwent genetic testing before deciding to have more children. The tests said the chances of future children having the condition were extremely small.  But against those odds, Zackary and Owen were born with the disorder.

The disorder has no cure, though there are a number of treatment options.  The Kratzers have tried them all, from different medications to steroids, but to no avail.  They then began eliminating certain foods, until finally eliminating all of them.  

The children survive on an amino acid formula paste which gives them all their nutrients and fills them up.  They can also drink water, eat ice and sugar.

As of now, this is how the children will survive for the rest of their lives.