UO and FSU presidents join fight to end Fanconi anemia, challenge fans to donate

Rare but devastating disease connects universities.

EUGENE, Ore. – (Dec. 23, 2014) – The presidents of the University of Oregon and Florida State University have joined forces prior to the Rose Bowl Game to raise awareness and funds for research into a rare but devastating disease that has connected both universities.

Florida State President John Thrasher and UO interim President Scott Coltrane have each pledged to make a personal donation to support Fanconi anemia research. The two universities will meet Jan. 1 in the Rose Bowl for the first round of the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Thrasher will donate to the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, which was started by UO President Emeritus Dave Frohnmayer and his wife, Lynn. Coltrane will donate to Kidz1stFund, which was founded by FSU football head coach Jimbo Fisher and his wife, Candi.

“It is impressive how both Emeritus President Frohnmayer and Coach Fisher have turned their families’ personal challenges with Fanconi Anemia into opportunities to raise money to fight the disease,” Coltrane said. “The UO and FSU may be rivals on the field, but we are united by our desire to support research and end Fanconi anemia.”

The Frohnmayers started the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund in 1989, at a time when little was known about the recessive disease that causes bone marrow failure, leukemia and cancer. They have a daughter, Amy, with Fanconi anemia and have lost two other children to the disease. The Fishers founded Kidz1stFund in 2011 after their son Ethan was diagnosed with the disease.

From Oregon to Florida, these two funds are the only ones in the country devoted to fighting Fanconi anemia and providing support and resources to the fewer than 1,000 U.S. patients diagnosed with the disease.

Fans of Oregon and Florida State can join the leaders of each university in the fight against Fanconi anemia by making a donation at https://pldgit.com/rosebowl2015 in the name of the Ducks or Seminoles.

“This Rose Bowl Game has connected Florida State University and the University of Oregon in a deeper way beyond an athletic contest,” Thrasher said. “Fanconi anemia has affected both of our university families. If we pull together to support research and raise awareness, the Seminoles and the Ducks can play a role in hopefully scoring a victory against this rare but devastating disease.”

FARF has raised more than $29 million during the last 25 years to support families and fund over 100 doctors and researchers worldwide. During the last three years, Kidz1stFund has donated $2.8 million to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, the largest treatment center for FA patients in the country.

UO MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Winters, 541-517-5895, jwinters@uoregon.edu
FSU MEDIA CONTACT: Jill Elish, 850-644-4030, jelish@fsu.edu