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'Fighting for her life': Billings family raising money for 20-month-old battling blood infection

'Fighting for her life': Billings family raising money for 20-month-old battling blood infection
Posted at 6:38 PM, Jun 02, 2024

BILLINGS — Downtown Billings was filled Sunday afternoon as many gathered to honor the centennial anniversary of Congress enacting the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States the right to vote.

Floats filled the streets, but the last float in the parade was there to celebrate and raise awareness for one of the youngest children to fight a courageous battle. The Billings family held a sign saying, "Aaniyah and her big fight to live."

'Fighting for her life': Billings family raising money for 20-month-old battling blood infection

Amanda Boyer could be seen walking at the end of the parade with her family, on a mission to help save a life. Her 20-month-old granddaughter, Aaniyah Raeleah Georgie Busch, is who they are walking, dancing and praying for.

“Her Lakota name is Little Hummingbird Girl," Boyer said on Sunday. "(Aaniyah) is in ICU and she is fighting for her life.”

 What first started as a swollen arm quickly turned into a fight for her life. Doctors found her to have a blood infection that spread to her lungs, but they don't know how it started. She was flown to Denver two weeks ago.

'Fighting for her life': Billings family raising money for 20-month-old battling blood infection

“What Denver said was that she is the youngest that they have seen with this blood infection,” Boyer said. "It was necrotizing vasculitis. They don't know how it got in, she had a skinned knee, but it went staph sepsis and then it's in her lung right now."

Boyer and her family are trying to raise money to help with expenses, but Boyer is no stranger to facing and overcoming adversity.

“I come from such a loving community,” She said.

'Fighting for her life': Billings family raising money for 20-month-old battling blood infection

In 2021, Boyer graduated from Yellowstone County Treatment Court after years of sobriety and treatment.

“What I’ve experienced here, you know, is we lift each other up and we’re there for one another,” Boyer said.

She now runs a successful business, Big Sky Acai food truck, which could be seen following closely behind the family during the parade.

'Fighting for her life': Billings family raising money for 20-month-old battling blood infection

Boyer also invited other food trucks to the parade to follow them in support of Aaniyah's fight to live. The Fry Bread House and Alfons Flaming Grill joined them at the parade.

Before the celebration started on Sunday, Boyer got a phone call from the Señor Salazar food truck owner, letting her know that many other food truck owners have teamed up to raise money for Boyer's family.

“I’m a food truck owner, and we’re a community here in Billings and, you know, I’ve been asking my community for help. The food trucks came along to be behind us and to show strength in community and unity in this with my family,” Boyer said.