Friday, January 15, 2010

Vote for The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation

I recieved this e-mail yesterday and wanted to share it with all of you. PLEASE take the time to read it, and follow the instructions that follow.

Hello Friends and Family,
My daughter's best friend, Gwendolyn Strong, is the same age as Reese, and has a terminal illness called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Children with SMA lack a protein in their DNA that keeps the motor neurons thriving: Gwendolyn's body is completely paralyzed, she breathes from a machine, and eats from a tube. Her mind, however, is completely normal and is actually a quite spunky little gal. She loves to play with Reese and has an affinity for princess items :) Reserachers at UC Irvine are really REALLY close to a cure for SMA, but they need funding to push it towards FDA approval. It is so exciting (yet frustrating) to know how close it is! JP Morgan Chase Bank has committed to donating $5 million dollars to non-profit organizations, $1 million of which was already distributed in December. Through a Facebook voting system, the top 100 non-profits were awarded $25,000 in cash. The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation was one of these winners (yippeee!), and 100% of the funds were sent directly to UC Irvine's SMA research team. Next up is the final round of voting for the BIG prize: $1,000,000. One million!! This voting is all done through Facebook, and it starts tomorrow: Friday, January 15th, 2010.This video sums it up: Gwendolyn Strong Video Imagine this: $1,000,000 towards SMA research could actually end this disease. Not "get the ball rolling" on research, not "hope for a cure," but actually end it. And, most importantly in my eyes, it could save Gwendolyn's life. The research that is sooooo close to FDA approval is one that could affect babies who already have SMA (like Gwendolyn), and could completely remove them from symptoms. Can you imagine Gwendolyn running into our playgroup and giving the kids high-fives and hugs without a breathing machine? I CAN!!!!!!!

Here are some facts:

  • Dr. Kierstad (UC Irvine) has dedicated his life to spinal cord injuries. He has already successfully performed a lab experiment on mice that allowed the previously-paralyzed animals to literally get up and walk. He is now focusing on SMA research, which is closely related to spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophies, ALS/Lou Gehrig's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. It is his belief that a groundbreaking surgery (so close to FDA approval!) could allow the body to re-build the proteins that are missing in children with SMA. That means Gwendolyn has the potential to be symptom free! Forever!

  • Money is holding back a cure. Other diseases, such as breast cancer and AIDS, have massive amounts of funding and reserach behind them, but "cures" are still unknown. The "cure" for SMA is just around the corner, but nothing can be done until the funds are there to continue the research.

  • SMA is the #1 genetic killer of children under two years of age, and 1 in 40 adults (unknowingly) carry the gene to pass it on.I really dislike forwards and spam emails, but I am going to send out an email, Facebook posting, and blog entry EVERY single day while the voting is open (Jan 15 - Jan 22). It's really simple, just three easy steps (I'll list them in tomorrow's email once the voting is open). In turn, I ask that you do the it on your Facebook accounts (or heck, create a FB account if you don't have one already!), your blogs, your email contacts, etc. This is an effort sheerly driven by people voting: the GSF needs every single vote it can get. Reese wakes up each morning and asks to play with Gwendolyn. She loves to hold her hand and help wipe her mouth when it is wet. I'm looking forward to explaining to Reese why Gwendolyn doesn't have to wear a breathing machine anymore ("she's cured!") instead of giving her the opposite devistating news. So, please, please, please, PLEASE vote and spread the word to every person you know. Don't ignore me...I'll be stalking you all week :)

With love,
The Paskins (plus Gwendolyn)...and Happy New Year!

Here are the voting instructions:

If you're already a member of Facebook:
1) Click Here (you might need to log in if you've not already)
2) Click on "Vote for Charity"That's it! It'll give you the option of posting on your status that you voted (do it!! with a message to your friends!!). How easy is that?!

If you're not a member of Facebook yet:
1) Click Here and sign up for a (free) account. Even my mom has one!
2) Click on "Vote for Charity"A box will appear that allows you to show your friends that you have voted. Even if you don't have any friends (yet), follow the instructions so your future friends will know!It's so easy, it's so quick, and it's so important. And remember, I will stalk you until you vote :) And pass it on to everyone you know!

From Jodie:

Sarah and her husband, Mike, have joined Gwendolyn's family in their fight to find a cure for this terrible disease. Once you watch the video, visit Gwendolyn's blog, and get to know her a bit, there's no doubt you'll want to help too. Your vote for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation can help get this family, and several others, one step closer to seeing their daughter/child cured! How incredible would that be?

I can't wait to post an update when Gwendolyn is cured!

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