Millions watch video of parents learning fate of daughter with Sanfilippo Syndrome

October 3, 2019

Three years ago, Glenn and Cara O’Neill took the phone call that would change their family forever.

A call letting them know whether their daughter Eliza would be permitted in a possibly life-saving clinical trial for Sanfilippo Syndrome, a rare, genetic, and fatal neurodegenerative disease likened to a childhood Alzheimer’s.

And they had a personal camera documenting the moment.

Thankfully, the news was good; Eliza was accepted into the first-ever gene therapy clinical trial for Sanfilippo Syndrome, Type A, conducted by Abeona Therapeutics and Nationwide Children’s Hospital and followed by a trial for Type B. (NOTE: Both clinical trials are still enrolling patients.)

Months later, Glenn and Cara decided to share that raw and life-changing moment in the hopes of spreading awareness to gain more funding for research for the many Sanfilippo children suffering and in need of a chance at life.

Today, the video continues spreading awareness with people still sharing and viewing it. In April 2019, it surpassed 3 MILLION views on YouTube.

The video also sparked extensive interaction and discussion, with 19,000 likes, 1,800 dislikes, and more than 2,000 comments.

One of the most-common comments was the of question of why the O’Neills chose to record and share the moment. The O’Neills directly responded to the commenters with a thoughtful explanation in the hopes of providing insight to their decision:

“Any time during our journey where we feel a moment is going to be special, we video it so that perhaps we might use it to spread more awareness to gain more funding for research for the so many children suffering and in need of a chance at life. … We will film and post any personal moment if we feel it will help the cause to Cure Sanfilippo and get more funding for clinical trial options to save children.”

“We used to be a private family, but we’ve had to change that to try to get attention for this rare disease. I truly hope no one ever finds themselves in the position we and other families are, and the desperation of having your beautiful child with a rapidly degenerative terminal brain disease with no cure or treatment. Perhaps you understand now why we posted this…even if you don’t agree.”

O'Neill family - living with Sanfilippo Syndrome

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