TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – When reigning national champions Florida State University take on the University of Virginia, Nov. 8, the college head football coaches will be fighting for the same outcome – a cure. FSU’s Jimbo Fisher and UVA’s Mike London both have children battling Fanconi anemia (FA), a rare genetic blood disease leading to birth defects, bone marrow failure and cancer diagnoses. The odds of two head coaches having children with this disease are one in 990 billion.
The FSU Seminoles will take to the field in Tallahassee on Nov. 8 donning “I Fight Fanconi” Kidz1stFund decals on the backs of their helmets in support of nine-year-old Ethan Fisher, 18-year-old Ticynn London and all others living with FA.
Jimbo and his wife, Candi, founded and spearhead Kidz1stFund to raise awareness and treatment options for FA. In 2014 alone, Kidz1stFund raised over one million dollars to fund research at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, the largest treatment center for FA patients in the country, bringing the total of donations since inception in 2011 to $2.8 million dollars.
A special $1 million check presentation will be conducted after the third quarter of the FSU versus UVA football game marking the first time a check presentation has been given in Tallahassee. Dr. Margaret MacMillan, the lead researcher and co-director of the University of Minnesota Fanconi Anemia Comprehensive Care Clinic will be there in support of this major financial accomplishment.
“Sharing the sidelines and bringing awareness to Fanconi anemia with Coach London is an honor,” said Coach Fisher. “At the end of the day, there is nothing more important than family, and Coach and I are fighting for much more than a football victory during this game.”
Ethan and Ticynn are two out of around 30 people annually affected by FA. Nearly 100 percent of patients need high-risk bone marrow transplants before adulthood, and even then, survivors have an average life expectancy of only 29 years old.
As with every home football game, Kidz1stFund will be hosting a bone marrow donor drive before kick-off on Langford Green. To date, at least five donors have been identified because of a Kidz1stFund donor drive and gone on to give their stem cells to save the lives of five patients’ fighting some type of blood cancer.
To make a contribution or learn more about the fight against Fanconi anemia, visit www.Kidz1stFund.com.