Media Contact: Margarita Wagerson

Community rallies around young Leukemia survivor Gracie Irish

Sales at the Original Murdicks Fudge of Mackinac Island will benefit pediatric Leukemia research at U-M’s C.S. Mott Childrens Hospital

This summer, the Mackinac Island and northern Michigan business community will rally around one of its youngest community members – Gracie Irish.

Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age 4, the now 9-year-old Gracie has a success story that her parents are trying to extend to others who might fall into a similar predicament.

Through fudge sales at its stores in northern Michigan and Mackinac Island, The Original Murdick’s Fudge of Mackinac Island will raise funds for Gracie’s Fund for Pediatric Leukemia Research.

Inspired by the innovative research and collaborative approach to medicine at U-M, the Irish family has established a fund in Gracie’s name to help support continued leukemia research at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Acting on the recommendation of friends, Gracie’s parents brought her to the U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital to start her treatment in 2006. She went through two years of treatment and in 2008, enjoyed a healthy summer.

But that winter, doctors found a benign tumor in her leg, a complication of leukemia. Determined to tackle Gracie’s condition head-on, doctors treated Gracie with a new experimental drug, thalidomide. At their first follow-up appointment after starting the drug, the Irish family learned the mass in Gracie’s leg had started shrinking.

Therapies like the one Gracie received are made available to patients through clinical trials, which help determine the effectiveness of new medications and treatments. Access to clinical trials is available through a handful of leading children’s hospitals, and Mott is one such institution.

Remarkable treatment options are available for children diagnosed with leukemia, but for children who relapse or have complications, as Gracie did, resources are limited. To discover effective treatment plans for children with leukemia complications, the Irish family believes more research is necessary.

“Gracie’s experience ignited within our family a passion to make a difference,” says Amy Irish. “She remains a vibrant source of inspiration in our lives and we are forever grateful for the care she received at Mott Children’s Hospital.”

Since its establishment in 2010, Gracie’s Fund has donated more than $6,000 to pediatric research.
To support Gracie’s Fund, The Original Murdick’s Fudge of Mackinac Island has donated 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of their popular fudge during a spring fundraiser at Cranbrook Schools and North Hill Elementary in Rochester, MI.

Murdick’s will also be running a “season of support for Mott” by donating a portion of proceeds of total summer fudge sales at their Mackinac Island and St. Ignace stores.

In addition to the ongoing fundraisers this summer at Murdick’s stores, Gracie’s family is hosting a private fundraiser on July 9 at the Mackinac Island Yacht Club.

Miracles on Mackinac will include an afternoon reception, and an evening dinner with all proceeds benefitting Gracie’s Fund.


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