HARRISONBURG, Va., March 11, 2011 -- Dukes' senior guard Dawn Evans suffers from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a disease that attacks the kidney's filtering system. She is an ambassador for The NephCure Foundation, a non-profit that serves as a resource for families dealing with kidney diseases and funds research seeking treatment and a cure.
As of March 11, NephCure's "Sign on for Dawn" (www.signonfordawn.org) fundraising campaign is past the two-thirds point, with $6,716 raised.
A young FSGS sufferer from the Philadelphia area, who had met Evans at JMU's Jan. 27 game at Drexel, attended the March 11 Colonial Athletic Association quarterfinals with her father and spent some time with Evans following the Dukes' win over Georgia State.
Below are some Facebook comments after Evans was selected CAA Player of the Year, along with a story written by the mother of one of the young boys Evans met following the Dukes' Feb. 27 game at Hofstra.
"Way to go girl. We will beat F.S.G.S."
"Yeah!!! Way to go Dawn...you are an inspiration to my daughter!!"
"Same here. Our daughter loved meeting her."
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"I wanted to share with you an event that took place this week and it was as a result of attending the JMU/Hofstra game and meeting Dawn.
"Last week, I was contacted by the reporter from Patch.com (who was writing a story on Evans) to clarify my name, etc. and he said he would send me the story. Well, he sent me the link and I decided to send it to (my son) Jake's school. I sent it to the principal, his current teacher, his teacher from last year and the school psychologist.
"Jake's teacher e-mailed and said she had printed out the article and wanted to know if I thought Jake would like to give a presentation to the class. I told her I would ask him because, understandably, this is holds a lot of emotion for him. So I asked Jake and he said yes. The next day, I checked in with him again to be sure he still felt comfortable with it and he said yes. Of course, I was a wreck. I started to think, maybe I should be there or maybe the school social worker should be in the classroom. Jake was concerned about being teased.
"All day I sat on needles and pins and then I got the call from his teacher. Jake gave his presentation - and while he did break down at one point - he did a great job and the kids in his class were very supportive and Jake seemed o.k. afterwards. I don't know many people - adults included - who could have done this same thing. I am so very proud of him and he wouldn't have been inspired to do so if it hadn't been for watching Dawn and meeting her. Her strength helped my son find his own strength to stand up in front of his 9-year-old peers and speak his truth. I have to say, I learned something from this experience as well. The day after the presentation, he even wore the Team Dawn t-shirt to school!"