Every year since 2010, Florida Tech has seen a fundraiser hosted for Rett Syndrome.
This is because Henry Perez, the dean of the College of Business, has a 23-year-old daughter named Lily with the syndrome.
According to rettsyndrome.org, Rett syndrome is a rare non-inherited genetic disorder that occurs mostly in girls, although it can rarely occur in boys.
Rett syndrome tends to have an affect on brain development. Perez’s fundraiser, known as the Florida Strollathon, benefits rettsyndrome.org.
The organization invests in research, educates about the syndrome and calls for volunteers to help with fundraisers.
The Strollathon will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Space Coast Field of Dreams.
Many people across the state, including families who are affected by Rett syndrome, will gather together at the Strollathon.
A Rett syndrome awareness week at the College of Business and a pancake breakfast fundraiser at Lucky’s was held beforehand to spread awareness. Funds were collected during the events.
Graduate student Kristi Stephens is participating in the fundraiser for the first time, and will be assisting Perez. Stephens got the opportunity to meet Lily, which inspired her to participate.
“I am particularly inspired to support families and children who face daily challenges because I am fortunate to have two healthy children of my own,” Stephens said. “I believe an entire community benefits when people are willing to help each other with kindness, generosity and compassion.”
Stephens has played a major role with the fundraiser, as she has “planned details of the event such as catering, entertainment and booking hotel accommodations.”
With Stephens’ interest in volunteering, she said she enjoys helping others and getting to know new people, such as the families that attend the fundraiser.
“The most rewarding part of my contribution so far has been interacting with families who have daughters with Rett syndrome,” Stephens said. “It has been a pleasure to support them in a small way, whether by setting up their fundraising pages, helping them post photos and letters, booking hotel rooms or answering general questions about the event.”
Stephens said she looks forward to meeting the families in person and will be proud to have contributed to their enjoyment of a fun day while supporting a cause that can make a difference in their lives.
The fundraiser’s goal is to raise over $100 thousand this year.
If this goal is reached, the fundraiser would raise one million dollars over the course of the Strollathon’s ten-year period.