DELTA — The Delta Secondary community is rallying in support of one of its teachers.
Pam Mann, who lives in Surrey, teaches English and humanities at DSS. Her son, Eshaan, who turns seven next week, suffers from alkaptonuria, which is also known as black bone disease.
Students, teachers and parents are supporting Mann and helping raise awareness about the condition as well as money for a four-year medical trial in the U.K. that’s testing a “very promising drug” to fight the disease.
“This community has rallied around me like I never thought was possible,” said Mann, who has taught at DSS for more than a decade.
Black bone disease is extremely rare, with fewer than 20 people in Canada and less than 1,000 worldwide known to have it, she said.
An acid in the body builds up 2,000 times faster than usual, attacking a person’s bones, making them weaker. It affects the whole body.
Eshaan has to do lots of tests, is on protein-restricted diet and was given a list of activities to avoid so he doesn’t put any “extra wear and tear on his body,” Mann said, adding men with the disease usually start showing symptoms at 20.
“Once bones have been deteriorated, there’s nothing you can do. You’re just living with the pain.”
So far DSS students have made Facebook and Twitter pages, along with an Instagram account, to go along with fundraising initiatives, Mann said.
Students in teacher Dana Huff’s Academic Leadership 11 class, along with other student groups, are helping out.
“I’m very proud of them. They’ve come together as a school community, not just as a class,” Huff said.
Upcoming fundraisers include a bake sale (which Richlea Bakery is supporting) today (Sept. 24) and Wednesday (Sept. 25) in the school foyer.
The Delta Ice Hawks have donated tickets to their home game on Oct. 8, which students will be selling beforehand and on the day of the hockey game at the Ladner Leisure Centre.
Contact Huff for tickets at firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost is $3 beforehand or $5 at the door.
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