Fewer than $30,000 is needed to fulfill the goal of a Columbia family desperate for a cure for their little girl.
Three days after Eliza O’Neill’s fifth birthday Sunday, the “Saving Eliza” GoFundMe website to raise money for a potential cure for Sanfilippo Syndrome had hit more than $1.77 million, just shy of the family’s $1.8 million goal.
The O’Neills have for the past year led a fundraising charge that has captured national attention, as they hope to help pay for a possibly lifesaving gene therapy clinical trial for their daughter and other children suffering from the rare genetic disease, which causes a toxic material to build up in children’s brains and bodies, leading to severe disability. By age 6, most children with the disease have irreversible brain damage and lose the ability to speak. Many don’t live beyond their teens.
Leading up to Eliza’s fifth birthday on Sunday, the family made a final big push to reach their goal by the end of Eliza’s big day. They had lacked about $500,000 as of Friday afternoon.
On Wednesday, donations were still pouring in online, with a number of $100 gifts given.
Donations can still be made to the O’Neill’s nonprofit Cure Sanfilippo Foundation online at www.SavingEliza.com, www.curesff.org or by sending a check to Cure Sanfilippo Foundation, P.O. Box 6901, Columbia, SC, 29260.