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Danbury High Students Find Their Calling, Help Teacher With Field Day Event

Siobhan Romero and Danny Zhu, co-presidents of the Danbury High School Caritas Club, are excited to get their first fundraiser off the ground. It will benefit their teacher, who is fighting Kennedy’s disease. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

DANBURY, Conn. – Siobhan Romero and Danny Zhu didn't know what Kennedy’s disease was before this school year. But now, with the help of their club at Danbury High School, they’re raising money for research into the very rare genetic disease.

During a physics class at the beginning of the school year, teacher Jameson Parker told the students that he has the debilitating neurodegenerative disease, Zhu said.

“It was really interesting, but also really sad. Because they have no treatments,” Zhu said. The disease results in muscle cramps and progressive weakness due to degeneration of motor neurons in the brain stem and spinal cord, and it afflicts only men, he said.

That they scheduled their Field Day fundraiser on Father's Day was a coincidence, Romero said.

On Sunday, June 15, the JV Field at Danbury High School will be converted into a carnival, complete with games, raffles, crafts and face-painting. At every game booth, winners will be given tickets, she said. The winners can go to a Prize Booth and cash in all their wins for one great prize rather than a several smaller prizes, Ramos said.

It costs $5 for children and $3 for adults to come to the Field Day and participate in the games. The Kennedy's Disease Association will be on hand to answer questions about the disease.

It was organized by Romero and Zhu and other members of the Caritas Club, a DHS group dedicated to helping people with and learning about medical problems.

With the help of sponsors and donations, the Caritas Club has managed to put everything together for the event in just over two months, Romero said.

“Most clubs hold car washes or bake sales,” she said. “We thought it was different and unique.”

The Caritas Club formed only recently, the co-presidents said. Both said they were interested in learning about medicine and helping people, but none of the medical clubs did much in the way of helping the ill. So over the year, they got together and began filing the paperwork to form the club. (Follow the club on Twitter .)

As juniors, Romero and Zhu have another year to get the 45-person club more established. They said they hope they will be able to hold another event like this next year.

For those interested in donating but unable to attend the Field Day, the club asks that donations are mailed to Danbury High School, Caritas Club, c/o Hala Hourani, 43 Clapboard Ridge Road, Danbury, CT 06811.

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