SANDUSKY, Ohio - At 60 years old, Perkins High School art teacher Donna Hensley said she's beginning to acknowledge that health concerns could be on her horizon. The epiphany was sparked by her youngest sister, Nancy, being diagnosed with an incurable disease at 48 years old.
Dystonia has taken away Nancy's ability to walk and sit up on her own. It's a neurological problem that causes involuntary muscle spasms. The crippling disease has taken a strong grip on Nancy's life, forcing the mother of three to be placed in a nursing home.
Doctors are experimenting with medications and an altered diet, hoping to alleviate some of Nancy's discomfort and pain. But treatments available are limited and Hensley wants to do something to help now. That's why she's set a goal to raise $10,000 for dystonia research by May 16, the day before Nancy's birthday. If Hensley succeeds, she'll also shave her head and donate her hair to Locks of Love.
Hensley's students are on board, helping spread the word about their teacher's cause by posting the news on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Family members, friends and students are also trying to get the attention of Ellen DeGeneres with tweets like this:
Adriana Scavio: @TheEllenShow Let Donna Hensley shave her head on your show #BestTeacher
A web page has been set up where you can pledge to donate to Hensley's cause.
"It is my ardent hope that you can help me by donating whatever you can to help find a cure or viable treatment for this debilitating illness. Please share this with others and help me to achieve my goal!" said Hensley on the site.
At last check, 77 percent of Hensley's goal was reached, with $7,700 pledged.
On the Web: http://www.dmrfevents.org/event.php?435239
You can follow Tina Kaufmann on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/tinakaufmann17