TALLAHASSEE -- Jimbo Fisher may have helped lead his football team to a conference championship last fall, but his family, like many others, continues a fight of a different kind.
This week, while visiting with doctors at the University of Minnesota's Amplatz Children's Hospital, the Florida State coach and his wife Candi announced a rather significant victory in the drawn-out battle they have fought the last two years.
For the first time since beginning their campaign in August 2011 against the rare and deadly childhood disorder Fanconi anemia, the Fishers, through their non-profit Kidz1stFund, have hit the $1 million mark in donations raised to help research efforts in stopping the disease.
As a way of acknowledging the $1 million milestone, the Fishers on Monday presented a check to doctors at the Amplatz Children's Hospital with a check for the amount during a reception at Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium.
"FA is our opponent and we will do everything we can to fight this disease head on," Jimbo Fisher said, according to a news release from the Fund. "Candi and I knew from the beginning we could make a difference by helping to raise awareness and fund research."
Directors of the Kidz1stFund have set goals the last two Decembers to bring in $500,000. This past December, they hit the mark for the second straight year. Following a benefit event earlier this month that featured comedian Jeff Foxworthy, the group already is closing in on its goal for 2013, according to a member of the Fund.
The organization was established six months after the Fishers learned their youngest son, Ethan, had been diagnosed with Fanconi anemia. The genetic blood disorder can affect bone marrow and lead to cancers at far earlier ages than the normal population. Although smaller than most children his age, Ethan, now 7 years old, has still continued to lead a relatively normal life since his March 2011 diagnosis.
The closest remedy doctors currently have to a potential cure is a bone marrow transplant. But most Fanconi patients don't get the transplants until they are around 11 or 12 years old.
Ethan still has not yet found a bone marrow match.
"We chose the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital because it treats more Fanconi anemia patients needing blood and marrow transplantation than all other hospitals in the country combined," Candi Fisher said. "Most importantly, their team of doctors gave us hope that a cure would be found."
In addition to going to Minneapolis to award the check to the children's hospital, the Fishers are there with their two sons for Ethan's annual check-up. Each March, Ethan is evaluated by doctors to see if his conditioning is worsening or not.
To learn more about Fanconi anemia and how you can donate to Kidz1stFund, visit Kidz1stFund.com. The organization also is on Twitter @Kidz1stFund.