Eight graders raising money for Rett Syndrome research - Fox 2 News Headlines

Eight graders raising money for Rett Syndrome research

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A little girl is trapped in a body that won't let her walk or talk, but sometimes hope pops up in funny places like in a Rochester Hills eighth grade classroom.

Annie can't speak, but you wonder what she thinks of the West Middle School eighth graders raising money to help find her cure.  Seven now, but life didn't start out this way.

"What happens is these girls are born completely healthy and normal and they grow and thrive and hit milestones, and then between the ages of one and two they hit a regression and they start to move backwards," said Bridget MacDonald, Annie's mother.  "These lose their ability to walk and to crawl.  They lose their ability to speak and they lose all the ability in their hands."

It's a neurological disorder called Rett Syndrome.  It only affects girls and while their brains are fine, their bodies are broken.

"She's actually a typical seven-year-old girl inside.  She loves all the same things that a typical seven-year-old would.  She knows all the things that a typical seven-year-old would.  She can't speak, but she can hear and she can understand," MacDonald explained.

A video created by one of the students shows their dedication to Annie, who until now they had never met.

"This is a big day for us and I'm so happy that she could come in," said teacher Brian Dalton.

It all started when Dalton stumbled upon the Girl Power 2 Cure initiative, a national non-profit that raises money and awareness to fight Rett Syndrome.  He got his class involved and the reaction was impressive.

"These guys are awesome, great group of kids."

"I was honored that we got to do this not only for Annie, but for the foundation, too," said eighth grader Allison Surinck.

This visit was particularly eye-opening for the students.

"Her mom must be like one of the best people in the world to deal with that every single day," said eighth grader Griffin Green.

A baby girl is born every 90 minutes with Rett Syndrome, but many believe a cure is close.

"It's one of the few things that scientists really have an opportunity to cure it.  They said within seven years they think they might have it," Dalton said.

"These kids are amazing.  They've completely blown me away," said MacDonald.

This is how Mr. Dalton's class will raise money for research.  They will host a big fundraiser Friday night at the Barnes & Noble on Rochester Road in which the students will present various class projects and a part of the stores' proceeds go to Girl Power 2 Cure.

To learn more about Annie, visit http://girls.girlpower2cure.org/annie.

For more information about Girl Power 2 Cure, visit www.girlpower2cure.org.

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