Jimbo Fisher and his wife have donated $1 million to fight Fanconi Anemia.
By BOB FERRANTEFS Florida
Jimbo and Candi Fisher vowed to do everything they could to find a cure for Fanconi anemia.
The foundation that the Fisher family set up, Kidz 1st Fund, recently donated $1 million to the Fanconi Anemia Comprehensive Care Clinic at the University of Minnesota. The Fisher's son, Ethan, was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia in March 2011, and the family went public in August of 2011 in an attempt to bring awareness to the life-threatening disorder that affects about one in 300,000 children in the United States.
Fanconi anemia is a genetic disease that causes birth defects, bone marrow failure and eventually leads to cancer years earlier than the general population. There is no cure for Fanconi anemia, but the Fishers are working to help find that cure.
Ethan Fisher, now 7, continues to attend school play sports and lead a normal life. But doctors have said that he will one day need a bone marrow transplant.
“FA is our opponent and we will do everything we can to fight this disease head on," said Jimbo Fisher, Florida State’s football coach. "Candi and I knew from the beginning we could make a difference by helping to raise awareness and fund research. Through the generous donors of Kidz1stFund, this $1 million dollars will make a significant difference in the lives of FA patients."
Along with help from Florida State administrators, the Fishers have held on-campus events to increase the number of people that are registered bone marrow donors. And the Kidz 1st Fund was established to raise funds, most of which have gone to the children’s hospital at the University of Minnesota.
“It treats more Fanconi anemia patients needing blood and marrow transplantation than all other hospitals in the country combined,” Candi Fisher said. “And because, most importantly, their team of doctors gave us hope that a cure would be found.”
Kidz1stFund, under the direction of Candi Fisher, made its first pledge of $500,000 in March 2012 to the hospital, doubling the university's research budget for Fanconi anemia.
“The world's first successful cord blood transplant was with an FA patient, and now there have been over 23,000 cord blood transplant performed for a variety of diseases to date,” said Dr. Margaret MacMillan, the co-director of the Fanconi Anemia Comprehensive Care Clinic. “FA families like the Fishers continue to push for better treatments for this terrible disease, and we hope to one day be able to find that elusive cure for Ethan and the others with FA.”