Students deliver donations to help a teacher's uncle

Gail and Moses Morris, on behalf of Rolling Thunder Inc. Florida Chapter 7, presented Rick Fabiani, president of the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, with a $2,000 check. In turn, Fabiani presented Gail and Moses Morris with a certificate of appreciation.

Published: Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 10:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 10:46 p.m.

When Lauren Henehan, a math teacher at St. Patrick Interparish School, decided to help her family in Deltona raise money and awareness about a little-known disease afflicting her uncle, she never expected the response she received last week.

In exchange for a "dress down" day, Henehan asked students — who wear uniforms to school — to donate $1 toward research to find a cure for progressive supranuclear palsy, or PSP, a neurodegenerative brain disease. There is currently no treatment or cure for PSP.

"I thought I would raise $35, but the outpouring of support has been amazing," said Henehan, who has been at St. Patrick for about seven years.

Donations arrived in $2 and $5 increments. One last-minute donation of $10 was collected from the third-grade class.

On Friday, at the end of Mass, Henehan announced to the students and faculty that they had raised a total of $1,000. The school raised $600 and Hidden Angels, a charity run by St. Patrick student Alexandra Scott and her mother, wrote a check for $400 on Friday morning.

The money raised will go to Cure PSP to benefit research.

"The students know how this has affected me, and they really want to help," she said. "They are amazing kids."

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Rolling Thunder Inc. Florida Chapter 7 recently donated $2,000 to a fund dedicated to building a Gainesville Fisher House, which would provide a home away from home for veterans, military personnel and their families receiving medical treatment at the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The house would be located on the grounds of the veterans hospital. Rolling Thunder Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery of Prisoners of War-Missing In Action, and to raising awareness about POW-MIA issues.

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Leslie Golden of High Springs recently received a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind.

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