The Huot Family of Philadelphia reached out to their family, friends and coworkers to “Support the Zebras!” because of their own little zebra, three-year-old son Zak. Heather Huot, Zak’s mom, started a personal fundraising page through the Immune Deficiency Foundation’s Take the Zebra Challenge! and began sharing her family’s story. To date they have raised $1,355, exceeding their $1,000 goal.
At 18 months, doctors diagnosed Zak as failure to thrive, and at age three—after a year and a half of testing—he was diagnosed with CVID. Zak now receives monthly IVIG at home and attends preschool. He has not had any serious illnesses or infections since starting IVIG, and for that the family is so grateful. “When Zak started this process, we were very uneducated about primary immunodeficiencies,” says Heather, “Dr. Jordan Orange at The Children’s Hospital Philadelphia suggested early on that we look to the IDF for information and resources.”
Heather requested IDF materials, and then she and her husband took their education a step further by attending a Patient Education Meeting in Philadelphia, which Heather describes as amazing. “We were able to talk with people who have been living with this disease for years, hear their stories and have real tangible hope for Zak,” says Heather.
“Soon after this, I decided I needed other moms to talk to about what it’s like having a child with PIDD. Again, I reached out to the IDF and quickly was put in touch with another mom. I now have a network of moms that I’m in contact with … All of this is why we decided to do a fundraiser. In the year that Zak has been diagnosed, IDF has been an incredible resource and support for us and we felt we needed to do something to give back from our little corner of the world.”
And that little corner of the world is generous, helping the Huots surpass their $1,000 with $1,355 raised! To really make a difference, Heather put a link to their fundraising page on facebook multiple times and sent regular e-mails to family, friends and coworkers. She believes direct e-mails have been the most effective because she can share updates and encourage giving.
“My husband and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support by our family and friends.” says Heather, “It not only makes us feel that we were successful in supporting IDF, but also really touches our hearts and let us know how many people are behind us every day. It has also inspired us to raise the bar next year and come up with additional ways to raise money for IDF in the years to come.”