Dakota Strong, a 19-year-old local man, can’t hold down food.

Mother Deanna Strong said after nine months of unsuccessful treatment by a number of doctors, she’ll be taking her son to Anchorage to see a gastroenterologist. She’s hoping to raise $3,000 for the trip through the crowd-sourcing site http://www.gofundme.com.

Strong said her son has lost 100 pounds, and gets by mostly on Gatorade. He is now so weak that retching causes him to nearly pass out. “He gets so hungry, he has to try to force himself to eat. He regrets it later, but he tries,” she said.

Dakota’s condition started as smelling something moldy or rotten. Then, food began tasting the same way.

He’s tried gluten-free and high-protein diets, antacids and anti-nausea drugs. He’s had tests for cancer and allergies. At Sitka’s Mount Edgecumbe hospital, he had MRIs and CT scans. He’s seen five doctors, including ones in Haines, Juneau and Sitka, his mother said.

“It’s very frustrating. For a long time, nobody wanted to say they didn’t know what it is,” Deanna said. “They’ve done every test they can think of.”

More recently, Strong said, her son has suffered from pain throughout his body. “It’s an all-over body pain. He can’t even hug us without him hurting.”

Diagnoses have ranged from bulimia to a nasal infection. One doctor even suggested meditation, she said. “(Nothing) fits with what he has. At this rate, he’ll end up with something named after him.”

Strong said she needs money for the Anchorage doctor visit because doctors at Anchorage’s Alaska Native Medical Center have already declined to see her son. “They said after reviewing his chart notes, they couldn’t do anything to help him.” Instead, she’s taking him to a specialist on a referral from the local clinic.

Dakota Strong graduated from Klukwan School. He dances in a Native dance group and tries to keep a positive attitude, his mom said. “He can walk around. He tries not to show people he’s sick or hurting. He tries to keep a positive attitude but it’s getting harder lately.”