Grieving family trying to cure disease

CHAMPAIGN — A family is trying to raise money to find a cure for a condition that killed their youngest. It was the Anderson’s first Christmas without their youngest daughter Angela. She contracted a rare disease that killed her almost a year ago. Now, her family is doing what they can to prevent another family from feeling that same pain.

They wrote a check to Vanderbilt University for $22,000. That’s a thousand dollars for each year Angela Anderson was alive, although that wasn’t the intention. That’s just how much they were able to raise.

Anderson contracted Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) On Christmas Eve last year. It started with an eye infection and she  went to the hospital thinking it was measles or something less mild. It turned out to be SJS, which leads to a rash and blistering on the eyes, mouth and other areas. She only lived four more days.

Paul Anderson says when her daughter died they asked people to send donations for research instead of flowers. The family held a benefit a few weeks later, by that point they had nearly $15,000, but Anderson says they couldn’t find anyone in the u-s working to find a cure. Finally they found a doctor at Vanderbilt who could put the money to good use.

Paul Anderson says, “We felt like we were doing something good to help other people. Something Angela would want us to do to try to keep someone else from going through what she had to go through.” 

The Anderson’s are asking people to keep donating for a cure. If you would like to contribute you can find a link here.

The family is also trying to organize a walk in order to raise more money. That could happen in spring if things go as planned.

Research shows genetics might have something to do with contracting SJS. Doctors says it happens to people with a gene called HLAV. They say that gene reacts poorly to certain types of drugs. Angela Anderson’s doctors say in her case it was Ibuprofen.

By Luke Ray | lray@wcia.com

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