Jacob's Warriors Foundation raising money to fight rare blood disorder

by Alison stewart | staff writer Published:

Streetsboro -- A group of Streetsboro residents have established a foundation to help out 10-year-old Jacob Whiteman of Streetsboro, who was born with a rare blood disorder called Diamond-Blackfan Anemia in which the bone marrow is unable to produce red blood cells.

There is currently no cure for this terminal disorder.

"He wasn't supposed to live past his first year of life," said Jacob's mother Mary Ann Whiteman. "It's a miracle he's still alive."

According to Whiteman, Jacob has to get monthly blood transfusions and takes daily medication to survive.

Whiteman started the Jacob's Warriors Foundation approximately a year ago with two friends, Tammy Michaels and Amanda Creque. Members also include her friends Matthew Orloff and Autumn Woodley.

"It's such a rare disorder, and we're hoping a cure can be found," said Whiteman.

Last June, the foundation held a fundraiser at the Sto-Kent Family Entertainment Center where they raised $1,200 for research at Akron Children's Hospital. They will host their second annual event at Sto-Kent Family Entertainment Center, 3870 Fishcreek Road in Stow on May 18 from 2 until 6 p.m. There will be bowling, miniature golf, sand volleyball, food and more.

"Mary Ann and I have been neighbors for three years, and our kids play together all the time," said Orloff. "We are hoping to double last year's donation amounts. We will also be having a raffle at the event. We hope to give away prizes such as tickets for the Cleveland Indians, the Akron Aeros, the Akron Zoo, and gift cards to restaurants and other fun places," said Orloff.

According to Orloff, the foundation will also be raising money to help families who have children with similar disorders.

"Families can have trouble paying the medical bills," said Orloff. "We have a program to help them out with utility bills or anything else they need help with throughout the year."

According to Orloff, donations can also be made online.

"I'm planning on doing some online raffles, as well," said Orloff.

Whiteman said she is hoping to have this event every year.

"My hopes are to keep donating to research to help find a cure," said Whiteman. "The more people who get involved, the more children we can help."

Children with DBA have a greater risk of developing leukemia in adulthood, according to Whiteman, who also has an 8-year-old daughter, Annabelle.

Jacob and Annabelle both had Auto Immune Neutropenia, a blood disorder in which the white blood cells are unable to be produce when they were younger, said Whiteman.

"Jacob had this from 2002 to 2007, and AnnaBelle had this from 2004 to 2007," said Whiteman. "Both are cured from it now but Jacob still has the Diamond Blackfan Anemia from 2002 to present."

To learn more, visit www.jacobswarriors@weebly.com.

Email: astewart@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4163

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