I want to start off by thanking each and every one of you for generously donating to the Weldon FOP Fund over the years to help others and me who have this condition. Ninety-eight cents of every dollar is donated to The Weldon FOP Research Fund at the University of Pennsylvania. Every penny gets Dr. Fred Kaplan and his team one step closer to finding the cure! I feel in my heart that the cure will happen in my lifetime. I know he is getting closer. Please read the attached article.
I was diagnosed with FOP in the third grade. I am now a junior at The Pingry School in Martinsville, New Jersey. Over the past nine years different parts of my body have started to turn into bone. Even though my muscles have turned into bone in key places throughout my body it does not stop me from doing my favorite things: going to concerts, team manager for school sports, and just being a typical 17 year old. I want you to know that I am living my life to the fullest. My strength comes from my family and my friends; I won't let FOP stop me.
In April 5, 2009, I turned seventeen and I passed my drivers test on the first try! I have a car that is adapted for me. My independence means so much to me. Being able to drive means I can go anywhere without feeling the need to ask my parents. At times it is hard for me to keep up with my friends, but I feel so lucky to have friends that have been amazing and understand the difficulties I go through.
I am going to do what ever I can this year to help raise awareness and funding for Dr. Kaplan. I am starting by writing this letter to you, I am also planning a Chipwich Sale at my school and we now have a Weldon FOP "Cause Page" on Face Book. I hope you will make FOP your favorite charity and help me spread awareness. To find out what our family has been doing in raising awareness, please visit my website at www.weldonfop.org. Thank you so much.
My heart is full of hope,
Donate Online or if you would like to help: checks can be made out to: The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Medical Center Development, 3535 Market Street, Suite 750, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309. Please write Weldon FOP on the memo line. You can also give directly by credit card to University of Pennsylvania