PDT Staff Writer
Jenna Hope Eichenlaub, at 21 months old, was diagnosed earlier this year with spinal muscular atrophy Type II, an incurable genetic disorder that weakens muscles, affects the respiratory system and impairs mobility.
Despite those challenges, the Eichenlaub family has been encouraged by the support shown by co-workers and the community.
“When our daughter was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II this year, of course we were devastated,” said Jenna’s mother, Jamie Eichenlaub.
However, Eichenlaub said she was overwhelmed by the amount of support she and her family have been shown from her co-workers at Southern Ohio Medical Center, where Jamie works in the Intensive Care Unit.
“They have been outstanding. I was beside myself with grief, just devastated after Jenna was diagnosed, but when I got back to work it wasn’t very long that I was asked by a co-worker, Jamie Burroughs, if she could have a fundraiser for Jenna,” Eichenlaub said. “So once she started planning that, then everyone in ICU started coming in and saying, we want to do this, and we want to do that, and it just like exploded. They’ve sold T-shirts, they’ve sold arm bands, bracelets. They’ve had a bake sale at the hospital where they raised $1,115. I just could not believe it,” said Eichenlaub.
“My family has been so touched by everyone. I have just been blown away, that the people from the community would give money, come to the yard sale, come to the bake sale. It has just been community-wide,” Eichenlaub said.
“We were able to buy a specialized wheelchair for our daughter with the money that they have raised so far, which cost $5,500.” she said.
The next fundraising effort for Jenna will be a yard sale at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 23, at 1910 Franklin Ave., Portsmouth. “Hope for Jenna” is the Facebook page that provides updates and information about Jenna.
“It makes a difference to know that people care about you, and that they care about your child,” Eichenlaub said.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 234 or heartlandpublications.com.