A Cedar Hill woman is doing her part to raise awareness about a disease that affects about 20 million Americans, while inspiring a Collin County teen battling through her own difficult time.
For NaKisha Ortiz, the symptoms came on fast.
"My right arm felt like it went numb and my vision was just blurry and I just felt sick," said Ortiz. "I just remember a nurse, when I came to and got there, and she told me I didn't think you were going to make it."
But Ortiz did make it. She's now the owner of her own modeling agency and the founder of the Thyroid Awareness Foundation.
"My life was spared for a purpose, and so I'm now acting on that purpose with the Thyroid foundation," she said.
On July 31, she'll hold her second fashion show this year to raise awareness for the disease and how to detect it early.
Aspiring model Schylar Eisensmith from Anna will walk in that show. A month ago she wasn't sure that would happen after a dog attacked her-- biting her in the face. She could have easily backed out of the show.
"Her mom called and she's like, 'Well, all she can think about is she's not going to be able to do the show,'" said Ortiz.
But Eisensmith said she was determined to honor her commitment "to prove that I'm not afraid to get back out there."
Part of the 14-year-old's inspiration comes from Ortiz' struggles and the struggles of others living each day with thyroid disease.
"They've got to take medicine every day and go through a lot more than probably I've been through in the last couple of weeks," said Eisensmith.
Both Ortiz and Eisensmith know by standing tall and walking strong, they can weather anything.
"Keep positive and just keep doing what you want to do," said Eisensmith.
"I can fight through this," said Ortiz. "I can get through this no matter what anybody says."
For more information about the Thyroid Awareness Foundation fashion show go to www.areyouaware.org.