Monday, February 23, 2009

Help a fellow dancer.

Andrew Allagree is a dancer, and friend of mine, who is dealing with a relapse of a rare autoimmune disorder that is being labeled Brainstem Encephalitis (swelling of the brain stem). It first struck him in 1999. At that time he lost almost complete motor function, was on life support for two weeks, was sent to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and subsequently began to teach himself how to walk again. Over a span of about two years he managed full recovery and went on to dance with Ballet Florida, danced in London, was in the opening cast of "Movin' Out" on Broadway, and last year spearheaded a campaign that raised $800,000 to help keep Ballet Florida from going under.
In December 2008 the illness suddenly struck again. Currently, he is in Good Samaritan Hospital in south Florida, where his condition fluctuates between ICU and "stable." There are no neuro-immunologists, the specialists he needs, in this hospital to help him. His medical bills over the past 8 weeks exceed $780,000; and because this is a pre-existing condition, he is not currently covered by any health insurance. The fund raising that is going on presently is in attempts at getting him an Air-Ambulance to UCSF in CA, where he has support of his family and partner, and where there are neuro-immunologists that are more experienced in dealing with this very rare, life threatening situation.
If you are a Facebook member and would like to support Andrew morally, you can "friend" him.

If you would like to support him financially, his Facebook cause is: Save Andrew Allagree Encephalitis Fund. The link:
You do not need to be a Facebook subscriber in order to donate on this link.
Here is a video supported by the band Five For Fighting, featuring Andrew in his own work created after his initial recovery and before the relapse.
Here is a news story from south Florida. If you click on the "play" button in the upper right you can watch the video article.

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