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Fundraisers to help Brewerton girl

In many ways, 16-year-old Erin Beitz is like any other teenager.

The Brewerton native is athletic, a softball and volleyball player at Paul V. Moore High School in Central Square. She has a boyfriend and many friends.

"She makes friends very easily," said John Beitz, Erin's father. "She's very outgoing."

Erin is also a good student, maintaining a 99.25 average as a sophomore at P.V. Moore.

But there's something about Erin that makes her very different from her peers, tragically different.

Last month, Erin was diagnosed with lymphoma.

The diagnosis

Erin's father said the illness started simply enough around Dec. 16.

"She'd been nauseous and throwing up," Beitz said. "But there was something like that going around, so we just thought she had a stomach bug."

Erin missed a couple of days of school right before Christmas break, but felt well enough to return for the last day of classes before vacation. She then took a turn for the worse over break, prompting her parents to call the family doctor.

"She couldn't keep anything down," Beitz said. "We took her in and they put her on IV fluids to keep her hydrated, and they did a blood test, but nothing turned up, which is also unusual for lymphoma."

Still, Erin didn't get any better. Her doctor gave a diagnosis of mononucleosis, but that diagnosis was rejected two days later. She was given anti-nausea medications and her doctor told her parents to make sure she kept drinking plenty of fluids.

But the symptoms got worse. By the beginning of January, Erin had lost 15 pounds and was experiencing double vision and dizziness. Suspecting an inner ear problem, her doctor gave her a CAT scan, which was clean. By then, Erin was also having nystagmus, or uncontrolled eye movements. She was sent to an opthamologist, who changed her medications and sent the family on their way.

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