After reading about the attempts of a local family to raise money for stem-cell treatment that could give sight to a blind Salmon Arm teenager, citizens young and old are rallying to the cause.
Jody Hanna, 17, has been blind since birth due to a condition called bilateral optic nerve hypoplasia. Hanna has optic nerves in her eyes, but they are so under-developed, the message doesn’t go to the brain telling the pupils to dilate, so when they’re wide open, light floods in allowing her to distinguish dark, light, shadows, but no shapes or colour.
Now, a new stem cell treatment available in Phoenix, Ariz. offers the chance of sight.
Not only have doctors approved Jody as a candidate for treatment, she has been given assurances that she can reasonably anticipate gaining some or possibly total vision.
The catch is, Jody and her family need help raising $20,000 for the procedure.
After reading an Observer article, Olin and Eva Mosher were talking about Jody’s situation with their parents at the dinner table.
The pair had met Jody at a piano recital, where they were so impressed with her ability to play without eyesight.
“They really wanted to help, and they started talking about how, if everyone in town just gave a little bit of money, Jody could have the operation,” says mother Hanka Mosher. “They decided they wanted to give their monthly allowance to help Jody.”
Hanka said if the kids did that, she would match their funds.
But the children wanted to take the fundraising project a step further. They are challenging other families to do the same thing — kids could donate some or all of their allowance, and parents could match it.
Olin and Eva point out there are roughly 30,000 people in the area, so if people could even donate $1, it should be easy to meet the $20,000 goal.
There will also be a movie fundraiser taking place tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the Salmar Classic Theatre with all proceeds going to Jody’s medical fund.
The movies Grease will be shown at 7 p.m. followed by Limitless at 9 p.m.
Admission is $5 for one movie and $8 for two. There will also be popcorn and baked goods available for sale.
Sturgis North Pub
Another event is being planned for Oct. 1 at the Sturgis North Pub. There will be a silent auction, pancake breakfast, all-day entertainment, a burger lunch and supper special. The organizers are looking for items to be auctioned off. These can be dropped off to the pub between now and the event.
Anyone who wises to make a contribution towards Jody’s treatment can do so at Scotiabank at 391 Hudson Ave. (PO Box 490) to account #30320-0309184.