Day 21- March 20th, 2015

Learn more and help Iris at 

GM1- Gangliosidosis – a rare degenerative and neurological disease affecting children

30+ miles, Fredericksburg-Unionville, VA area for sweet Iris and the Dooley family from California. Showing a beautiful picture Iris drew. Great artist. 


“Iris is a strong and sweet girl.  She wrangles with her little brother Carter on a regular basis, as any big sister should.  She has a beautiful smile and a contagious giggle.   She loves orcas, dolphins and a good laugh.

In August 2013, our family experienced every parent’s worst nightmare.  Iris was diagnosed with a terminal degenerative neurological condition called Juvenile GM1 Gangliosidosis.   We were completely blindsided. We had been told that Iris’ development was normal, despite troubles with speech and her motor skills.  This school year, there is now evidence that the disease impacts her learning.

The only suggested medicine that exists may possibly slow the disease, if that.   It is not even FDA-approved for this specific disease.  Many people have tried the medication with limited success or they experienced no benefit at all.  There are no treatments for this condition other than comfort measures and symptom management.

GM1 is progressive.  The disease worsens with time.  We do not know what the future holds.   We hope Iris will live many more years, perhaps into her teens or even her twenties.  But we do not know how her quality of life will be maintained.   If there were a choice between quantity or quality, what would one choose?  We know the inevitable course this disease takes.  There are no guarantees.   We cherish every moment and we take nothing for granted.

Each day is a new beginning.  We are hopeful that somehow we can contribute to a cure.  However, we are fighting in a race against time.This disease is not specific to any race, ethnicity or individual group.  We are a typical family with a very grave concern.   We have an enormous amount of love for our sweet girl. ” – The Dooley Family from California