Birthday party raises money to cure rare disease

AUBURN, Al. – An Opelika boy suffering from a rare nerve-destroying disease is turning three-years-old, something doctors thought would never happen.  Porter Heatherly’s parents decided to turn his birthday party into a fundraising event to help find a cure for Gangliosidosis known as GM1.

While experts believe it is too late to cure Porter, the Heatherly’s hope they can raise enough money to help fund the search for a cure that could possibly save lives in the future.

“It makes us realize that this journey we’ve been on is worth it.  So we were hesitant to tell our story at first when we found out, but now we know, because of that, that is where we are today,” Porter’s mother, Sara Heatherly, said.

Christina Waggoner flew in from California to show her support for finding a cure for GM1.  She helped found the GM1 Foundation after her daughter was diagnosed with the rare disease.

“It’s amazing to know that you’re not alone when you meet other families who have been affected by this disease,” Waggoner said.

Around 200 people bought tickets to the event.  The Heatherlys raised at least $7,000 just from ticket sales alone.  They hoped to raise thousands more from the auction and raffle.

Businesses donated items for the auction and raffle.  The fundraiser was held at the Auburn University Club.


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