Man’s dying wish to fundraise for Make-A-Wish helps girl battling rare autoimmune disease

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A local man’s dying wish came true after local bar Murray Street Darts held a fundraiser to help a local Make-A-Wish kid. 

Alf had requested me to do this before he passed away, said Heather Schoenberger, a local dart league coordinator. 

Alf died of lung cancer in November. His granddaughter, Wendie Arciaga, said her grandfather wanted to help someone. Then they found Nataleigh Jackson-Nunez.

We want to support him and also support Nataleigh,” Arciaga said. “To make his wish come true and make her wish come true.”

Nataleigh is battling a rare autoimmune disease called Vascular EDS. Her mom, Melinda Jackson, said EDS is a connective tissue disorder. It puts Nataleigh at high risk for spontaneous organ rupture, aortic dissections, and aneurysms.

”But it ultimately it comes down to do me choosing the quality of life for her or putting her in a bubble, so we chose quality of life, Jackson said. 

Jackson said a small fall can be fatal for her. Since the ruptures are spontaneous, she could die at any moment. 

I am a single mom,” Jackson said. “It always has been a really hard battle, and to see a community who cares about my little girl means a lot.”

All the money raised at the dart tournament will go toward Nataleigh’s wish, which is a trip to Australia with her mom. 

I want to go to the observatory and maybe the aquarium or to the zoo,” Nataleigh said. “I want to see kangaroos and koalas. I want to do all types of things.”

Make-A-Wish will pay the rest of the amount not raised during the dart tournament.

Murray Street Darts is also raising money for Nataleigh, her mom and her aunt to go to the Marfan conference in July. This conference is to help gain a better understanding of vascular EDS. It also gives her the opportunity to meet and make friends with others who have vascular EDS.

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