APO raises money for research of rare Marfan syndrome

Talia Gragg, Staff Reporter

This past week, Alpha Phi Omega hosted its annual March for Marfan Fundraiser, seeing its second largest participation, at 91 students.

APO sends all proceeds from this event to the Marfan Foundation, which is working for awareness and research into a cure for the disorder. The combined efforts of the participants, volunteers and donors raised about $1,750 at the Saturday, March 29 event.

Marfan syndrome is a serious genetic disorder affecting connective tissue. The most serious symptoms involve heart complications that can prove fatal, but also include problems with the lungs, eyes, the spinal cord, the skeleton and the hard palate. While a diagnosis of Marfan syndrome used to be a death sentence, modern medicine makes the disorder manageable.

Failure to diagnose and treat symptoms is still fatal, however. Research into discovering a cure is currently underway.

APO has hosted the March for Marfan since 2006. The event was started at CWRU by APO member Maya Brown-Zimmerman, who had Marfan syndrome. The March consists of either a 5K run or a 3K walk by community members as well as APO members. Any interested community member is invited to participate. Community donations help APO host the event every year. These donations include raffle prizes provided by the Cleveland Browns, Lake Erie Monsters and Mama Santa’s.