Tallahassee, FL– Florida State University Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher and Candi Fisher, chairwoman of their nonprofitKidz1stFund, were the special guests at a Nov. 9 seminar on “Changing the Practice of Medicine: The FA Story.”
The initials “FA” stand for Fanconi anemia, a rare, genetic blood disease that affects thousands of children each year – including the Fishers’ son Ethan. They formed Kidz1stFund to raise awareness and research dollars to fight FA.
More than 100 physicians, dentists, nurses, medical students and others attended the seminar, which was hosted by the Florida State University College of Medicine and sponsored by Capital Regional Medical Center.
The main speaker was Margaret MacMillan, M.D., co-director of the University of Minnesota Fanconi Anemia Comprehensive Care Clinic, which follows the largest number of FA patients in the world. She referred repeatedly to her team of 28 people who’ve done bone marrow transplants since the 1980s. Their research, she said, has produced medical breakthroughs in treating not just FA but other conditions as well.
“With each trial, we’ve improved our outcomes,” she said. “We’ve come a long way.” Now, she said, the challenge is to keep making the transplant process better while also reducing the suffering of those with FA.
She also described her first, four-hour meeting with the Fishers – and said that, even then, they were already focused on helping other children besides their son. She praised the work that Kidz1st has done in just a short time.
“They get things happening quickly,” MacMillan said of the Fishers. “I’m just so impressed.”
Candi Fisher said MacMillan had become not just their doctor but their friend.
“To have Dr. MacMillan here today to speak about how FA has changed the practice of medicine gives our family hope,” she said. “We have a long, tough fight ahead of us. We will do everything we can to find better treatments and ultimately a cure for all families struggling with FA.”
Said Coach Fisher: “Candi and I are so pleased to have this opportunity to work with the College of Medicine on educating area doctors, dentists and students about Fanconi anemia. The more awareness we can raise throughout the medical community, the better our chances of saving Ethan.”