TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – While Florida State University Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher keeps Seminole Nation’s hopes high for another national championship this season, he continues to bring hope to another community – those living with Fanconi anemia (FA), a rare and incurable blood disorder affecting about 1 in 131,000 births annually, including his younger son, Ethan. Fisher doubled his goal by raising $3.5 million in four years through Kidz1stFund, the nonprofit he founded in 2011 to increase awareness and research funds for the deadly disease.
Kidz1stFund also champions bone marrow donor drives for supporters, including the FSU Marching Chiefs, and confirms three Chiefs have been identified as matches and will donate their stem cells to patients in need.
In true Seminole fashion, the three bone marrow donors and recent $700,000 donation that accomplished the $3.5 million financial milestone were celebrated in a big way. Not with a traditional check presentation, but with a memorable halftime performance by the Chiefs during today’s game against the University of South Florida.
The nationally acclaimed Chiefs brought fans to tears with their renditions of the theme song from Friends – “I’ll Be There For You” – and “Holding out for a Hero” while spanning the field with a “Kidz1st” formation.
“When I heard the Chiefs were planning a special show for Kidz1stFund, I was completely moved,” Fisher said. “Everything from the song selections to on-field formations brought awareness to FA and those who have personally fought for a cure, and I couldn’t be prouder or more appreciative as both FSU’s coach and the father of a child with the disease.”
The Chiefs have proven to be some of the biggest Kidz1stFund supporters. Knowing all FA patients will eventually require bone marrow transplants, more th
an 500 Chiefs have joined the Be The Match national registry in hopes of one day becoming a bone marrow donor.
The three Chiefs miraculously identified as a match include Breanna Amborn, Zachary Miller and Kyle Willard.
“As we race to find a cure for Fanconi anemia, I express my endless thanks to these three brave individuals and all who contribute to our effort in any way,” Fisher said.
Nearly 100 percent of FA patients need high-risk bone marrow transplants before adulthood, and even then, survivors have an average life expectancy of only 29 years old. Kidz1stFund continues to host bone marrow drives on a weekly basis and collect donations to fund research at th
e University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, the largest treatment center for FA patients in the country.
To make a contribution, become a donor or learn more about the fight against Fanconi anemia, visit www.Kidz1stFund.com.
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