Spencer Loomis’ Dollar Denim Days raises $600 for rare disease research
Spencer Loomis student council members Megan McGuckin (from left), Kaushik Jegath, Summer Sagisi, Alyson Kee and Daniela Morga wore jeans to school last week to raise money for rare disease research. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 15, 2013 12:40PM
HAWTHORN WOODS — By wearing jeans each day last week, Spencer Loomis Elementary School students raised about $600 for the Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation.
The school’s student council organized the fundraiser, Dollar Denim Days, in tandem with Two Hearts Rock, a local nonprofit launched in 2010 by a pair of Lake Zurich neighbors, Lori Butler and Kerry Hughes. The organization is dedicated to raising money to research rare diseases, which affect about 350 million Americans.
Fifth-grader Alyson Kee, a Spencer Loomis student council member, said the fundraiser was a way to help others with diseases that aren’t as widely researched as the one she has.
“I have leukemia, but I’m really lucky because others have it worse than I do,” Kee said. “It feels really good to help those kids.”
The student council and the founder of Two Hearts Rocks both agreed that tailoring Dollar Denim Days to those affected by Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood was a great fit, because the effort also would benefit a student attending District 95.
Kiley Andrasco, a student at Lake Zurich Middle School North, was diagnosed with the disease when she was three months old. Alternating Hemiplegia is a rare neurological disorder that causes episodes of temporary paralysis to one or both sides of the body, many times a month. It can affect the way one walks, talks and eats for minutes or hours each day.
Kelly Andrasco, Kiley’s mother, said her daughter is one of only about 600 children diagnosed with the disease worldwide.
“She is at the age where she knows she is different from others,” said Kelly, who added that it’s been difficult to watch her daughter struggle with the disease.
Kiley is currently in a special education class, and receives speech, occupational and physical therapies in and outside of school. Kelly said that life has become very challenging for her daughter as she has developed behavioral issues over the years as well as seizures.
The Andrasco family expressed gratitude that the community and the school district has provided a great deal of support.
“I was happy (about the fundraiser) because it means the kids care about me when they wear jeans and pay money to AHC,” Kiley said.
Students on Spencer Loomis’ Student Council were especially glad to know that their fundraising would directly benefit a fellow student.
“I think this fundraiser is important because these people deserve a good life like we do,” said Megan McGuckin, a fourth-grade member of the student council.
McGuckin wore jeans to school last week, along with fellow fourth-grade student council members Summer Sagisi and Melissa Satmar. They all agreed that it was important to give back to those less fortunate than they are.
“It’s nice because it gives money to kids who can’t really play with other people because they are always in the hospital,” added Abby Bens, a fifth-grade student council member.
To double the donation to the Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation, Hughes and Butler are now looking to find a sponsor to match the $600 raised by Spencer Loomis students.