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Family unity ... Mum Tracy Allan with daughters Larissa (left) and Kaylee (16) McDonald. PHOTO: JENNY DILLNER.

“Life is like a box of chocolates,” they may say, but 20-year-old Larissa McDonald, of Gore, would tell you that her life has not been that sweet.

Unwell since birth, Ms McDonald was diagnosed with epilepsy as a toddler and was found to have a brain tumour at the age of 7.

Ms McDonald’s mother, Tracy Allan, said she was told her daughter might grow out of the epilepsy by the time she was 5.

“Sadly, it has not happened.

“Diagnosis seems to suggest the epilepsy is located around the same place as the tumour.”

After two unsuccessful surgeries in New Zealand, her daughter is going to Cleveland, in the United States, for more specialised treatment.

“Our specialists here have talked to Cleveland and it is imperative for Larissa to go over, where the investigative equipment and treatment is more advanced.

“For a young 20-year-old, her whole quality of life has been affected.

“She can’t get a job, a licence – every seizure affects her ability in life.”

Ms Allan is accompanying her daughter on the trip to Cleveland next month and the pair have no idea how long they will have to stay.

“It could be six weeks, even longer. At the end of the day we will stay for as long as needed.

“It is huge chance for my daughter to have a better life than the one she has been thrown so far,” Ms Allan said.

A quiz night will be held at the Heartland Hotel Croydon on Thursday, March 28, from 7pm to raise money for the trip. The cost is $20 per team of four people. Each person is asked to bring an item for raffle table.

All money raised will go towards helping with Ms McDonald’s medical investigation and treatment in Cleveland.