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updated: 7/8/2013 4:56 PM

Wheeling youth prepares for high-risk surgery

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  • Emma Alt

    Emma Alt

INSPIREme Chicago

At the end of the month, Tania & Pete Alt will take their 10-year-old daughter into a high-risk surgery at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago.

"It's hard because we don't know how much time we have left with her," says Tania Alt.

Emma Alt has Congenital Muscular Dystrophy and Neuromuscular Scoliosis. In the last six months, her parents have watched her spine curve double.

Doctors can perform a 12-hour surgery to try and straighten her spine, but it's so risky that she may not survive. On the other hand, if her spine continues to curve, it would eventually damage her lungs and she wouldn't be able to breathe on her own.

The Alt's have decided to go with the surgery. It's a decision they say no family should ever have to make.

They're only dream is for their daughter to be happy and comfortable for as long as she is here with them. But that dream has been a struggle living in their Wheeling mobile home with no income. Pete Alt recently had to quit his job so he could be home to help care for his daughter.

Despite their circumstances, the Alt's are inspired to keep smiling thanks to Emma's beautiful spirit.

Everyday, they work together to give Emma the best life they can.

The Alt's have set up a page on the website "Go Fund Me" in hopes of receiving donations to help give their daughter a better life. Their goal is to raise money to help pay Emma's medical bills and to bring in enough donations to move Emma out of their mobile home and into a home suitable for her and her wheelchair.

You can visit their donations site here:

The Alt's were recently featured in INSPIREme Chicago. Watch their story here: