CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A northeast Ohio girl who is waging a fierce battle with a chronic disease is receiving a special gift this holiday season.
"When I first got sick, I only had 30 percent kidney function, and I could have died, so being here today means a lot," said Reighn King.
The 13-year-old Massillon girl was diagnosed last year with lupus, a disease that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue in many parts of the body. Reighn is being treated at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland. She is facing, among other things, chemotherapy treatments.
As a result, Reighn is losing her hair. "Well the lupus mainly took all my hair out because it's just what it does; it's a really aggressive disease that I'll have forever, but the chemo contributed a little bit, but most of it is from the lupus to fall out."
Reighn says, as a result of her hair loss, whether it was due to ignorance, rudeness or down-right bullying, children and even some adults, call her a boy.
"Most of the time it really doesn't bother me because people are just ignorant and they don't know, but sometimes, like after so many times of them calling me a boy, I just, my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday so I told her I wanted to be a girl again."
When doctors at Rainbow realized her hair loss was affecting Reighn, they put her in touch with a local charity, Wigs for Kids.
After consulting with Wigs for Kids, the Jeffrey Paul Hair Restoration Center in Fairview Park designed a new head of hair for Reighn.
They have given Reighn the gift of self confidence and have allowed her mom to honor her promise.
"I get to give my child back what she lost by no choice of her own," said Toni Yeager, Reighn's mother. "I can't really express how grateful I am that I am able to give her this experience and make her feel like herself again. This disease has beat her up pretty bad and I want her fight back in any way that she can and feel confident doing it."