Blue Ridge School (grades K – 8) in Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ is sponsoring a fundraiser the week of April 28th – May 2nd. The school wanted to choose a local charity as the beneficiary for their fundraiser and chose The Belnap Foundation for Mitochondrial Disease, a non-profit foundation started by Newell & Becky Belnap in honor of their children who suffer from mitochondrial disease. The Belnap Foundation is dedicated to supporting research and raising awareness for mitochondrial and other rare diseases. These diseases, lack funding and awareness. The Belnap Foundation was created to change this. The theme for the fundraiser is: “Your small change will help make BIG CHANGES in children with rare diseases.” This fundraiser is to honor the students and families who fight a daily battle with rare diseases. Proceeds from this fundraiser will be donated to the TGen’s Center for Rare Childhood Disorders in Phoenix, Ariz. And the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine, located in Atlanta, Ga. These organizations are dedicated to diagnosing and finding treatments for patients with rare diseases. There are over 7,000 rare diseases and the vast majority of these diseases have no treatments. Thirty-million people in the United States live with a rare disease, and thirty percent of children with rare diseases will not live to see their first day of kindergarten. There are several children in our community attending Blue Ridge Schools who are impacted. We have students with Leigh’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Turner’s syndrome, Mitochondrial disease, idiopathic basal ganglion calcification syndrome and other determined and yet to be diagnosed conditions. A few of these children have spent extensive time in the hospital this year and/or undergone various medical procedures.
Many businesses have heard about this special fundraiser at the school and are participating in a variety of ways. Prizes and cash have been donated in honor of these courageous children. Some businesses have started their own penny wars. Others have designated a particular day where a certain percentage of sales will be donated in honor of these children. Others have allowed a container to be placed by the cash register where customers can donate their change. You can participate online by making a donation to The Belnap Foundation, TGen’s Center for Rare Childhood Disorders, or The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine.