Fundraiser planned for teacher with island ties battling rare disease

Fundraiser planned for teacher with island ties battling rare disease

■ BY SUE ERWIN

Lauren Hanrahan once taught kindergarten at The Island School. Now she teaches third grade at Englewood Elementary School. Lauren has a three-year-old daughter and a 9-month-old son, and she’s currently battling a disease that doctors are still trying to understand.

When when she returned to school after maternity leave last April, she also received some serious news from the doctor at that time.

Lauren was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, type 2 (NF2), a hereditary condition most commonly associated with bilateral vestibular schwannomas, also known as acoustic neuromas. These are benign (noncancerous) tumors that occur on the nerves for balance and hearing leading to the inner ear.

Shocked by the diagnosis, she’s made it a mission to spread awareness about the rare disease.

Lauren said that when she heard about a nonprofit organization called NF2 BioSolutions, which is researching gene therapy to treat the rare disease, she become a little more hopeful about her situation.

“Hearing that news was life-changing,” Lauren said. “There is still so much not known about the disease.”

There is currently no cure for NF2, but scientists are working on experimental treatments.

Lauren currently has two tumors located in her left and right ear, and three along her spine. Since the diagnosis, she has lost complete hearing in her left ear and is afraid of how soon it might hit the right ear. The tumors are pressing along the nerves of her ear and brain stem, which is what the doctors are monitoring closely.

She will be having more tests done in Tampa in October.

Off the Wave Clothing Boutique is having a fashion show fundraiser on September 21 at the Englewood Elks for Lauren. The lodge is located at 401 N. Indiana Avenue in Englewood.

A silent auction will start at 4:30 p.m., and dinner is at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, which includes dinner. Tickets for teachers are $25. Tickets can be purchased at Off the Wave, 409 W. Dearborn St. in Englewood, or at Funky Thrifty, 200 S. McCall Rd.

Seale Family Realty is planning to donate a complimentary weekend rental for the auction.

If you’d like to donate an item for the silent auction, it can be dropped off at Seale Family Realty, 430 East Railroad Ave. in Boca Grande. Note the item to the attention of Colleen.

Lauren has many connections to the island. She grew up in Englewood and spent countless weekends with family and friends in Boca Grande. Her father has worked at Grande Aire Services, Inc. for many years.

Dinner at the Elk’s Club will include a choice of: Chicken Francaise, Sirloin Bordelaise or past primavera.

Donations for the silent auction can be dropped off at Seale Family Realty. For more information, contact Colleen at The Seale Family or call her directly at (941) 276-1669.