University of Rochester student Sarah Gelbard is on a mission to raise awareness of Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), a debilitating neuromuscular disease. Her best friend, Laura Ferrarone, struggles daily with the effects of FA, while Laura’s sister, Sara, also suffered from the disease and passed away in November at the age of 26. The strength of the Ferrarone family, and their work raising thousands of dollars for FA research inspired Gelbard to do the same. She found a powerful ally in senior YellowJacket Galen Dole, whose younger sister Marlise was diagnosed with FA at the age of eight. Together, they set a goal of raising $10,000 for the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA).
All proceeds from the YellowJackets’ April 5 concert were donated to FARA, as well as money raised through the sale of limited edition YellowJackets fan t-shirts. Gelbard and Dole also started a page through GoFundMe, which allows visitors to make online donations.