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Health and Wellness

Fundraiser held at Fort Ham for local student battling rare disease

On Friday night, September 21, the community club at Fort Hamilton lit up with food, drinks, a casino night, and –most important of all — hope, as the Fanconi Anemia Research Foundation (FARF) and the Fort Hamilton Spouses Foundation co-hosted an event in honor of Emily Mitchell, a 10-year-old girl battling Fanconi Anemia.

Emily — who lives on the Army base with her family — was just a month old when she was diagnosed with FA, “a rare, inherited blood disorder that leads to bone marrow failure,” according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The goal of the event — dubbed “Bet on a Cure for Emily” — was to raise money for the foundation, which has been a wellspring of information and support for the Mitchell family, and which not only educated them about the disease but also connected them to Camp Sunshine in Maine, where Emily, a student at P.S. 264 in Bay Ridge, was able to meet other children who also had the disease as well as adults who have the disease, which gave her a glimmer of hope.

This inspired Emily’s mom Tricia to raise money for the foundation. She started off small with bracelets and garage sales, graduating to a golf tournament when the family was stationed in Hawaii and most recently, the casino night at Fort Hamilton, which not only raised money aimed at combating the disease but also paid tribute to children who have FA, with each table dedicated to a child who has the disease.

Among those present were members of the Wagner Seahawks women’s basketball team, who “adopted” Emily and came to support the cause.

Despite everything Emily has gone through, the countless days at doctors’ offices and in hospitals, Mitchell said she makes it a priority for Emily to have a childhood. Mitchell said they both rely on hope to get through the days.

“Hope is everything,” she said. “We look at life by concentrating on today, we make as many memories as possible, and we’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes.”

Donations can still be made at https://bit.ly/2QmadX7.

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