Family raises money for Severe Aplastic Anemia with Fall Fest
Anything is possible if you believe in it enough to make a difference.
Jacob and Renee Heath have a son, Preston, who was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia at the age of two. Severe Aplastic Anemia is a life threatening blood disorder that prevents bone marrow from producing red or white blood cells.
On September 15, the Heath's had their second annual Anything Outdoors Fall Fest. Admission was five dollars.
"We have a jambalaya cook off, a blood drive, washer board tournament, and silent auctions," Renee said. "We also have recently had a frog rodeo."
Jacob, Renee's husband, is an outdoors man and enjoys the outdoors one day at a time. Last year, Jacob began bringing kids with life threatening illnesses on hunting and fishing trips.
"This gives them an opportunity to enjoy life outside of a hospital and getting them away from the medical environment for a little while," Renee said.
Jacob and Renee started Anything Outdoors because they wanted to help other families who are going through the same thing they went through. Anything Outdoors raises money through apparel sales, Facebook auctions, and fundraisers like the Fall Fest. Anything Outdoors has raised $50,000 dollars to help kids at St. Jude in Memphis, Tenn., where Preston received his life saving bone marrow transplant after seven months of treatment, as well as Our Lady of the Lake Baton Rouge, Gift of Life, and Dreams Come True.
"Seven months after his life saving bone marrow transplant, he was cured of Severe Aplastic Anemia and is happy and healthy again," Renee said.
It took three years before Preston could stop receiving treatments.
Conveniently, September 15 was also World Marrow Donor Day. Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer. That's 480 people every day, 20 people each hour. 70 percent of patients who need a bone marrow transplant don't have a matching donor in their family. To encourage people to potentially donate in the future, donation tents were set up at the Fall Fest. Here, interested candidates would just have their cheek swabbed and have that sent in to see if they are a match for someone.
The event was also very family friendly with options for kids to play around with.
Visit anythingoutdoorshelpingkids.com for more information about Anything Outdoors.
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