Woman trying to save her best friend’s life

A local woman is racing to save her best friend’s life. She says Ranyna Clevinger is slowly dying from multiple sclerosis. For Clevinger the memories of her dancing as a teenager keep her moving.

“It makes me feel alive and it makes me feel like this is what I do,” said Clevinger.
Rayna Clevinger dancing with friends

Dancing was effortless, but when Clevinger was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis the simplest steps seemed impossible. Now, she needs assistance just walking to the bathroom, taking a shower or putting on clothes. Clevinger tells me her grandparents will carry her when she’s too weak to move around the house.

“If my immune system attacks me in the wrong spot in my brain it’s instant death without knowing. There’s no symptoms,” said Clevinger.

This disease started killing Clevinger’s hope for a future until a friend, Louise Byrd, stepped in.

“Nobody should feel like that. Nobody should feel like they are alone where they want to die,” said Byrd.

Louise Byrd giving Rayna Clevinger a hug after providing her with encouraging words.

Byrd started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a stem cell transplant through Stem Cells of America. Clevinger told us for the procedure she’d fly to Tijuana, Mexico, where she’d have the surgery completed. She’s hoping to raise enough money to pay for the treatment by the end of November. The procedure cost $20,000. Clevinger’s friends tell us they’ll do everything possible to help her get this life-changing procedure.

Kaitlyn Chana interviewing Rayna Clevinger and Louise Byrd about their inseparable friendship.

“Nothing is impossible. Stop using your head and that’s what’s wrong with people — you need to use your heart,” said Byrd.

For Clevinger she’s thankful to have friends who genuinely care about her well-being.

“It makes me feel that I’m loved. I’m not alone so I really appreciate them,” explained Clevinger.

When Clevinger walks she has to pick up her legs to cross over steps because her legs are stiff. She also can’t wear shoes because her toes cramp up causing her to trip over her own two feet. Clevinger said most people stare at her and make comments that can be hurtful. Her friends said they’ve witnessed some of the rude things others have said.

“I hate how people make fun of her, that’s not fair,” said Byrd.

Clevinger told me this stem cell treatment will cure her and she’ll be able to live pain free, walk and ultimately dance again.

“I’ll be able to do everything that I loved to do without having to be limited,” said Clevinger.

Together these friends are fighting for Rayna Clevinger’s life.

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