Young Drew Sternheimer is a resilient young boy living with a number of genetic conditions. Drew lives with his parents Scott and Stacy in the Greater Chicago Area, with his parents nicknaming their son “Nails” to recognize the 4 year old’s inherent strength.
Drew was born prematurely after Stacy was pregnant for only 33 weeks, and was immediately diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Stacy, a registered nurse, convinced Scott to bank Drew’s umbilical cord blood at the time of his birth to store a sample of cord blood stem cells for future therapy if necessary.
When Drew was 8 months old he was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy that doctors describe as hypsarrhythmia, which causes seizures as well as bloating the face. Already living with cerebral palsy, Drew was in need of urgent care, and his parents took drew to Duke University in North Carolina to use his banked cord blood for a stem cell transplant.
Scott says the cord blood therapy helped control the more aggressive symptoms of Drew’s conditions, and is relieved that his now 6 year old boy has a chance at living a better life.
“It’s supposed to help stop hypsarrhythmia and seizures. We don’t have the answers. We just know the bottom line is that he’s doing better, and we’re willing to try everything to help.”
Wanting to become activists and share their good fortune, Scott and Stacy arranged a nonprofit organization called “Fighting For Families – Do It For Drew.” Scott and Stacy’s goal is to help other families remain positive, and raise money to help children like Drew receive the proper therapeutic care for their conditions – whether that is cord blood therapy or other remedies.
The agency will host its inaugural charity event on September 20 by transforming the Fields Infiniti dealership in Glencoe into a fundraiser with a casino. Former Chicago Blackhawks player and commentator Eddie Olczyk will be the auctioneer of the evening, who is expected to attract hundreds of people in the community.