Four local girls, Mary Hueston of Stoneham, Paige Rosenthal and Kiley Rosenthal of North Reading and Megan Wilkes of Reading have started their final journey to earn their black belts at Elite Freestyle Karate in Reading, MA. Along with all of EFK's physical requirements the girls have to meet, they must also perform a service project. The girls were honored to be chosen to raise awareness and funds for Erica, a 10 year old girl who suffers from Mastocytosis.
Mastocytosis is a disorder that can occur in both children and adults. It is caused by the presence of too many mast cells in the body. Mast cells are part of the immune system. Symptoms vary, but Erica suffers from a severe case of mastocytosis and can have extreme allergic reactions to smells, changes in temperature and even stress. Now she needs to see a specialist in California. Erica has made the trip once, but has to return for follow up visits. The black belt candidates' goal is to raise the funds for Erica and her mom to fly to California.
Their first fund raiser was a walk-a-thon held at the Hawkes Memorial Field House, Reading, on Saturday, Feb. 16. The event was a terrific success! Erica, her parents and one of her sisters were able to attend, along with almost 150 other people, raising over $700 at the door. Mary, Paige, Kiley and Megan were delighted to have the opportunity to spend some time with Erica and make a new friend.
The girls walked, jogged and ran 5K in about 45 minutes. When they were finished, the EFK demo team, lead by Sensei Rory Bratter, performed a karate demonstration for the crowd.
EFK generously loaned their bounce house for children to use when they weren't walking or running along the track.
Before Erica and her family left for home, the black belt candidates presented her with flowers and signed a poster for her to take home to remember her new friends.
All of the girls were touched at the tremendous support shown by their friends, families, EFK staff and memebers, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and caring people from the community. Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the walk-a-thon! Anyone who is interested in learning more about Erica and Mastocytosis should visit her web site at ericaswalkforacure.com.
Mary, Paige, Kiley and Megan have one more fund raiser for Erica. The girls are hosting an electronics recycling drive.
"Fab Four Recycle for Erica"
Saturday, March 2, 1-5 pm
Elite Freestyle Karate Parking Lot
1349 Main Street, Reading
Drop off electronics including TVs, computers, computer monitors, accessories, cell phones, speakers, video games and sytems, camera/video/audio equipment, fax/copy machines and printers. A $5 donation is suggested for each piece of electronic equipment and $20-25 for each TV or computer monitor, depending upon size.