Jasmine Hancock, age 9, is described as a fun loving girl who’s full of smiles despite the hardship she faces with Rasmussen’s encephalitis – a chronic inflammatory neurological disease that has partially paralyzed her left side and impaired her physically.

A young Yreka girl is hoping that surgery to remove part of her brain will help her regain her life after being diagnosed with a debilitating and rare neurological disease that causes frequent and severe seizures.

Jasmine Hancock, age 9, is described as a fun loving girl who’s full of smiles despite the hardship she faces with Rasmussen’s encephalitis – a chronic inflammatory neurological disease that has partially paralyzed her left side and impaired her physically. As a result of her forced inactivity and the many medications she’s taking to control the seizures, Jasmine has gained weight and her brain is “slowly deteriorating,” said her mother, Ashley Cordova.

A surgery to remove the part of her brain that’s most affected by the disease is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 29 and although she’s scared at times, Jasmine told her parents that if it will help her feel better, she’s ready.

“It’s affected every part of her life ... It’s just devastating what this has taken away from her,” said Ashley, who has been “practically living” at UC Davis.

For more than a year, doctors have worked to discover the cause of Jasmine’s frequent seizures. Before her first seizure in October 2018, Jasmine was a normal, smart and active little girl, said Ashley. But the seizures continued with Jasmine suffering one about every 11 days, and she was referred to specialists at UC Davis.

Jasmine has undergone medical testing, received regular treatments to bolster her immune system and has been prescribed a plethora of medications in attempt to stop the seizures that kept her from attending third grade last year.

Jasmine saw a lull in her symptoms for a few months – a phenomenon that’s customary with Rasmussen’s encephalitis, it turns out – and Ashley and Jasmine’s father, Dylan Hancock, hoped she was outgrowing the epilepsy.

But in February 2019 her symptoms worsened. Ashley felt that her seizures were “different,” somehow.

Jasmine began having seizures in bursts, and they were affecting different parts of her body. Sometimes they occurred in her mouth, and she was unable to breathe. When Jasmine had a cluster of such seizures at the UC Davis neurology clinic and doctors saw the seizures with their own eyes, she was admitted to the ICU, where she continued having 150 to 200 seizures per day for over a month, said Ashley.

As is a classic symptom of Rasmussen’s Disease, the seizures were affecting only one side of the brain: in Jasmine’s case, the right side, which shows physical effects to her left side.

After a biopsy on Dec. 13, Jasmine was officially diagnosed with the rare and incurable disease. Doctors now hope that removing the part of her brain where the seizures originate will stop its progression. However, Jasmine will most likely have to deal with Rasmussen’s her entire life, and the surgery comes with risks.

Ashley said it will most likely affect Jasmine’s large and small motor skills, but she can work to get those back. It may also cause changes to her intellect, Ashley added.

Over the past 15 months since her illness struck, “her whole life has changed,” Ashley said. “She’s touched so many hearts ... So many people love her. She’s outgoing and upbeat ... it’s amazing how she doesn’t complain. She loves everybody.”

Ashley added that her daughter has “a strong love for God. We attend the United Methodist church in Montague where Jasmine has preformed songs on stage in front of the whole church and has lead the opening prayer a few times. Jasmine refers to the church as ‘our church family.’

Although she has suffered some bullying about her weight gain, Jasmine remains positive, Ashley said, and she hasn’t lost her spark. She was disappointed to hear that her head will have to be shaved for the surgery, but she has accepted it and is looking forward to getting her life back.

After the surgery, Ashley said she wants Jasmine to have every therapy possible to assure the best outcome. To help with those costs, a Go Fund Me campaign has been created to raise money toward Jasmine’s extensive treatment. Funds will be used for Jasmine’s medical care, travel costs to and from UC Davis, and financial support for her parents to allow them to be with Jasmine during this difficult time.

To donate, go to www.tinyurl.com/wyf3opa or follow her journey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stronglikejazzy/Ashley