By Abigail Quint, Copy Editor
Allie Rubin ’16 organized a fashion show last week to benefit the Progeria Research Foundation, which raised over $2,000 for the foundation.
Progeria is a genetic disease that causes children to age very quickly. This disease is rare, as a total of approximately 100 children worldwide have been officially diagnosed. There is no cure, and most children with progeria die around age 13.
Rubin became aware of the disease after a film festival she attended showed the documentary Life According to Sam, directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine. Rubin met Sam and his family and talked about his condition. Sam’s parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, are spearheading research on progeria and working to find a cure. The Progeria Research Foundation supports their aims.
Since 1998, when Sam was diagnosed, Gordon and the Progeria Research Foundation have isolated the gene that causes progeria, and most recently, have used the cancer drug Lonafarnib to treat it. Gordon and her team will continue conducting clinical trials until they find a cure. Sam is currently 16 years old.
“Because progeria affects children who are so young, there is an opportunity to help them live much longer,” Rubin said. “They are such amazing children. They spend days in the hospital and they are such strong individuals. Sam is my inspiration.”
Rubin was moved by her encounter with Sam and determined to help in some way. Throughout the past month she has worked to host a fashion show on campus, contacting clothing lines, arranging for models, gathering donations from the Lancaster community for a silent auction, and selling tickets. The sisters of Chi Omega Sorority, of which Rubin is a member, have supported her.
Rubin received the support of many local boutiques and F&M students for the fashion show. Anthology, a boutique in her hometown of Westfield, NJ, donated outfits; Macy Pryor ’14 designed an outfit for the show; Brett Giacco ’14 donated outfits from his clothing company, Hamden Clothing Company; Bella Whit Boutique in Lancaster donated outfits as well. Active wear clothing was also modeled.
For the silent auction items, Rubin asked local Lancaster businesses for support. Evolution Yoga donated a complete yoga outfit, a customizable yoga mat, and 10 free classes; the Lancaster Barnstormers gave four box seats with a first pitch; the Lancaster Arts Hotel offered a free night; the local YMCA provided a three-month membership; President Porterfield contributed an F&M bookstore package; the Overlook Golf course provided four rounds of 18 holes; Rubin created a gift card package with gift cards from Pat’s Pizza, Lemon Street Market, Brickyard, and Lancaster Brewery. Luxe, a salon in Lancaster, donated a package with a massage, manicure, style, and wash; the Washington Wizards basketball team donated tickets and an autographed ball; and Hamden Clothing Company donated a basket filled with merchandise.
The event was open to the F&M community and all of Lancaster. Rubin also collected donations online.
“I was inspired from Sam, just because he has such a positive outlook on life,” Rubin said. “His mother is an inspiration as well — anyone can really make a change. When I learned about it that day, I just really wanted to help. They are coming so close with all the trails that she is running that if we all donated just a couple dollars we could all make a difference. We could help them progress the scientific process, and help them find all the children that have progeria.”
Rubin hopes to continue her fundraising efforts, and she is considering planning an event in the Spring. Her partnership with the Progeria Research Foundation has provided her with many resources to continue spreading awareness and helping to raise funds.
Junior Abigail Quint is the Copy Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.