Around 20 folks showed up to Zumba at Justin Garner's AMAI in Loganville to help raise money for NEHI, a lung disease that is hopefully becoming easier to diagnose and treat thanks to awareness and the fundraising efforts to help with research. And among those dancing with a "jingle belt" was Alida Knobloch.
Little Alida Knobloch and her constant companion, Mr. Gibbs, have become a local celebrities. Her parents, Aaron and Debbie, spokespeople leading the way towards more information and research for this disease was only discovered in 2005.
The dancers, led by Kristen Henshaw (AMAI) and Tiffany Moore (Anytime Fitness in Loganville) were able to raise a little moe than $320 while having a great time and getting in shape. Candy Lowry sold the special pendants with the chILD Foundation logo.
When she met the Knobloch family at the WAG n Walk in the Spring, she suggested a Zumba fundraiser and began coordinating dates and times with Debbie Knobloch. She felt compelled. "This family has such a beautiful air of gratefulness about them," said Henshaw of the Knoblochs.
Henshaw has been a guest instructor at other Zumba fundraisers and knows that people love to dance and give to great causes. "People can be very generous. It's a beautiful way to see the good side of humanity."
There was an interesting twist last week when a Korean film crew called AMAI to ask if they could come and film the fundraiser. Having seen the story on the Loganville Patch and finding Mr. Gibbs story in November's Readers Digest, the news agency came out to put some international attention to the cause. The story is set to air on October 20, and we'll keep you updated on that front.
Debbie and Aaron have also been guests on the Today Show with the hopes that they may reach out to other families affected by the same disease; families who may not even know it yet. NEHI is so rare that it often gets misdiagnosed.
Aaron said they know of just 3 other families in Georgia. In fact, one of the families was on hand with their daughter, who was only diagnosed a few weeks ago after a family member referred them to a story about Alida and Mr. Gibbs on the Today Show. They were pleased to say that with the diagnosis, things are moving forward for their daughter.
Confirmation that publicity is a good thing when you're trying to raise awareness as well as funding for research.
Jean Fullwood, the general manager at AMAI is leaving the opportunity open for those who wish to drop by and make a donation during the next 2 weeks or you may donate online.