PORT JEFFERSON - A Port Jefferson father is seeking help to pay for medical bills for his young daughter.

Robert Marianetti said a near-drowning accident left his then 17-month-old daughter mentally and physically disabled, as well as legally blind.

Kayla Marianetti, now 3 years old, was once a happy, healthy child, her father said, until a tragic mishap when her mother stepped away from the child’s bathtub. 

When the mother returned, she found Kayla floating face down in the tub. Marianetti said his daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury between near-drowning and subsequently being revived by emergency responders.

"She was totally brain dead," Marianetti said. "Every neurologist that I saw, except for one, said I'm wasting my money and wasting my time and she's never going to recover."

Eighteen months later, treatments have produced noticeable results, Marianetti said. Kayla sees numerous doctors and goes to as many as four or five different therapies a day.

Last Friday, she took her first steps since the accident.

Some of Kayla's treatment is covered by insurance, Marianetti said, but some is not. He says he spent more than $300,000 out of his own pocket.

Complicating matters, Kayla's mother has been out of the picture, Marianetti said. 

"Now I'm totally out of money, and I need help," he said.