27 February 2011

Hope for Abigail

Ben and I have been so blessed to get to know Miss Abigail Mann (and her wonderful parents.)  She is one of the funniest little girls I have ever met.  She usually chooses water over most other drinks, she "asks" to go to bed when she is tired, and one of her favorite activities is ballet.  

                                          (Photo by Lauren VanderHorst.)
Abigail is two years old and has a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis.  (Please read her momma's description of the disorder at http://munciemenn.blogspot.com/, where you can also read their story.)  It is the most common neurological disorder caused by a single gene, affecting more people than cystic fibrosis, duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington's disease combined!  Yet most people have never heard of it.   

From Abigail's momma's blog: "In short NF causes a person's body to grow benign (mostly) tumors unchecked on nerves.  So anywhere your body has nerves (internal, external, brain, spinal cord, etc.) a tumor could grow.  It also is considered progressive (not necessarily fatal) and therefore even a mild case today could be a severe case a year from now.  Complications that can occur in NF: disfigurement, scoliosis, learning disabilities, large heads (macrocephaly), optic gliomas, congenital bone defects, and high blood pressure (this is nowhere near exhaustive)."

Abigail does indeed have a tumor growing on her right thigh.  Her parents have made the decision to have it removed by one of the best tumor removal surgeons in the country.  Unfortunately, her insurance considers the surgery elective and will not cover it.  Read why they are going this route on their blog.  
Or simply read this quote, "I can elect to allow my daughter's tumor to grow so much that she will lose use of her right leg and become morbidly deformed, or I can elect to have it removed early and increase her quality of life as well as give her the opportunity to continue doing things she loves; like dancing!"

Abigail needs your help to pay for her surgery.  I encourage you to visit her fund raising site and donate at least $10, not much to give a little girl a chance to keep dancing.  Or donate more!  (It is tax season, would you consider donating 5-10% of your return to help pay for her surgery?)

Another way you can easily donate is through buying a Hope for Abigail ring from Jill Raye Designs...so cute!

Thanks for reading! 

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