(TAUT DETROIT) – Finance life to save a life.
This is the mission that Mark Howell undertakes after his own healing journey.
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The husband and father were diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma in 2012 and they had weeks to live.
The community rallied together to raise $200,000 for Howell’s life-saving treatment, putting him on a path to pay it forward.
Now his organization Fund A Life helps families in Michigan deal with catastrophic events.
“Life is all about perspective, so I think it’s when you have support around you and you have people who are willing to do what they can to help you and it’s cold to be something they perceive as very small, but when things go wrong, the smallest things matter the most,” Howell said.
Katie Gatewood received a $10,000 grant from the organization to make her trip with her daughter Charleigh a little easier.
“So for Charleigh, her organs, liver, intestines and part of her heart all became part of that bag, so we learned that about nine weeks into my pregnancy,” Gatewood said.
The six-month-old was born with omphalocele, a rare birth defect that exposes organs outside the body.
“I was only able to see her for about 20 seconds after she was born and she was rushed into emergency surgery where they put all of her organs in what they called a silo which was basically a bag. medical grade,” Gatewood said.
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Charleigh is now on the verge of finally reuniting with her family at home.
“The grant came at a much needed and sought after time,” Gatewood said.
“It gave us the funds to drive to see her and it actually helped us buy our very first house. A house that is equipped to be able to house Charleigh and provide her with the needs she needs.
Fund A Life is hosting its third annual Drive To Survive fundraiser on Sunday to help raise money to support families through life-changing challenges.
“We’ll start at the Lingenfelter collection in Brighton, Michigan,” Howell said.
“One of the largest private car collections in the world, so you won’t want to miss this, and then we’ll take off to M-1. a private runway in Pontiac where we’ll hang out with music, food trucks, garden games, we will watch cars racing around the track.
For more information on how to get involved, click here.
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