When a thought is put into action it can be a beautiful thing.
When Brittany Harriss heard about four-year-old Avery Aubin, a local boy who is battling Hunter syndrome (MPSII), she couldn’t help but think about her own children. And then she reflected on what his parents must endure on a daily basis and that really tugged at her heart strings. That’s when she had an idea. A wonderful, selfless and brilliant idea.
“I immediately knew something had to be done for this family,” she said.
The rare disease Avery suffers from is caused by a missing enzyme which doesn’t allow his body to break down certain complex molecules and therefore they build up in harmful amounts. The highly progressive disease requires him to be on the second-most expensive drug in the world. Those affected by Hunter syndrome are usually in a palliative state by the age of six.
There’s been some ground-breaking headway in finding a cure but it comes with a big cost. For months, the Aubin family has been aiming to raise $10,000 in pledges and will participate in the Run for the Cure event with the Issac Foundation on October 22, 2017 in Toronto. The Issac Foundation funds innovative research projects that aim to find a cure for the type of disease Avery suffers from. (The run coincides with the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.) A cure for Hunter syndrome has been developed and tested on animals, however researchers would like to start the trial on children. It’s up to the families of those affected by the disease to raise $2.5 million to fund the clinical trial.
Harriss, who just went back to work at her job with the Canadian Mental Health Association after enjoying maternity leave, certainly leads a busy life with two kids who are just over a year apart. She also operates an online baby boutique, Bakers and Babies, and sells a variety of handmade apparel and other unique items. She started brainstorming ideas for how she could use her business to benefit the Aubin family.
The first-ever Bakers and Babies ‘Babes and Tots Show’ will take place at the Huntsville Place Mall on November 4 and 5 to benefit the Aubin family. This is one way that Harriss feels she can give back to a family who has gone through an emotional rollercoaster since Avery was diagnosed with the disease. The two-day event will feature amazing shopping opportunities, a silent auction, entertainment and a variety of fun and interactive activities for babies of all ages.
We have such a supportive community, I figured we could do a big event where different businesses come together and have a portion of the proceeds go to this family.
Mr. Frank’s Muskoka Music Centre will be there on the Saturday to host a music class and he has also donated to the silent auction. Beyond Obstacles is also offering a tot and tumbling class. On the Sunday, Dads and Braids Muskoka, teach you how to braid hair with a workshop that kicks off at noon.
Leslie Aubin, Avery’s mother, told Doppler she was touched when Harriss reached out to her with a plan to hold a fundraiser. The fact that Harriss has never met Avery or the Aubin family and that she was so willing to put forth an effort into the event means a lot to Lelie.
Living with a child who has a terminal condition, especially one so rare, can sometimes feel lonely and isolating. The recent outpour of support from the community and people like Brittany has shown us that we’re not alone. We are so grateful.
Harriss is hoping more businesses or individuals will come forward to help out with this awesome event. Anyone who is interested in being a vendor, providing entertainment for kids or donating to the silent auction can call her at 705-380-5488.
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