Students continue to raise money for classmate

PARKERSBURG -Thousands of dollars are pouring in for a Parkersburg South family’s quest to raise money for research for a rare disease.

Friday students at Parkersburg South were selling T-shirts to raise money for disease research for classmate Anna Gordon.

Gordon, a sophomore at Parkersburg South High School, was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) as a freshman. Ataxia is a rare inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system. Symptoms include loss of coordination, fatigue, vision impairment, aggressive scoliosis, diabetes and heart issues.

The Gordons have been working to raise money for Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to curing FA through research, according to the website (

Melissa Gordon, Anna Gordon’s mother, said they are trying to raise $10,000 to give to FARA for research. She said support has come from all over. Many of Gordon’s classmates have taken the lead.

Melissa Gordon said students at Parkersburg, Williamstown, Parkersburg Catholic high schools, as well as middle and elementary schools have pitched in to help. Gihon Elementary had a hat day fundraiser and Edison Middle School had pajama day to aid Gordon’s efforts.

“It’s really been student-driven,” she said.

In just over a week, supporters have raised more than $5,000.

“The community is totally getting behind this,” Melissa Gordon said.

Support is not limited to the immediate area.

Melissa Gordon said when South traveled to Bridgeport for a basketball game recently students there raised money for Gordon’s cause, donating a dollar from every ticket sold to the game.

Students are using #joinannasarmy on Twitter to provide updates on events, raise awareness and provide support.

The money is being raised for a nonprofit research alliance.

In addition to the T-shirts, and benefits, a masquerade ball is being held March 23 at Woodridge Plantation Golf Club ballroom in Mineral Wells.

At South students were working to sell 700 “Attacking Ataxia” T-shirts.

Anna Gordon recalled selling a shirt to a student who was unaware of the person at the center of the cause.

“She asked, ‘Who’s Anna?’ That’s me,” Anna Gordon said smiling.