In early spring 2020, several fundraising events for FARF were canceled due to COVID-19. As we approached May, which is FA month, we asked the FA community (FA families, researchers, doctors, fundraisers and donors) to give for our mission to advance research and support families. Several families stepped up to raise funds. Many donors made gifts.
One donor, Kathy Dyer, generously gave $10,000 to help find a cure for her niece and goddaughter, Emily, who lives with FA. This particular gift was made in memory of Bryan, Kathy’s brother, and Emily’s grandfather. Bryan passed away earlier this year. The impact of Kathy’s gift was even greater, as it inspired matching funds from the FA community. Many more donations were made as a result of this gift, empowering the community to get involved and providing FARF with the resources to support researchers and FA families. We are so grateful to Kathy for making this possible.
We asked Kathy to tell us a little about what motivates her to support FARF:
“My niece and goddaughter, Emily Mitchell, is an FA child. I’d like to tell you a little about her. She was born prematurely in 2008 in Okinawa, Japan, where her father, Ian (my brother Bryan’s son), was stationed in the Army with his family – wife Tricia and daughter Erin. At the time, I was working in Tokyo, and as Ian was in the US on Army business, I flew to Okinawa to help Tricia and Erin if I could.
The first time I saw this tiny, tiny baby in the NICU at the Naval Hospital, I fell in love with her. When shortly after her birth, she was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia (FA), I - along with the rest of the family - was devastated. She was in the NICU for over a month and was baptized there. It is now 12 years later, with many difficulties along the way, but our Emily is a lively, smart, and beautiful young girl who wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up. She is a gift and a blessing to us all.
Through donating to FARF and the funding of research into FA, I hope and pray to find a cure for Emily and all those who suffer from this terrible disease. I am also so impressed with the quality of the support FARF provides to the FA families through Camp Sunshine (one of Em’s favorite places) and through other services. The building of community for families is so critical, giving knowledge, fellowship, and most of all, hope, to affected families.
At this particular time, my matching funds donation is in remembrance of my brother Bryan, Emily’s grandfather, who passed away this year. He loved his granddaughters, Erin and Emily so very much. I hope he knows how much they and all his family loved him.
In truth, all we possess is a gift from God and he asks that we offer our gifts in love for others. So I pray to him that we find a cure through our support, and I urge all who have the means to donate so that FARF can continue its mission of finding effective treatments and the cure for which we hope and pray.”