The Progeria Research Foundation (PRF) has joined forces with Pro Stock racer Erica Enders to raise awareness about progeria, a rare, fatal, rapid-aging disease that afflicts children, who usually die of heart disease at an average age of 13 years.
Enders first learned about PRF from her father, Gregg, and was immediately inspired to get involved. She will be filming a public-service announcement that will air during the NHRA season in hopes of inspiring fans to help find the cure for progeria.
"I'm honored to join PRF and their fight to find a cure for progeria," Enders said. "These children deserve to live longer and healthier lives. I want them to have an opportunity to achieve all of their childhood dreams, just like I did. Together, we will find the cure."
PRF was founded in 1999 in response to the lack of progress being made to help children with the disease. PRF is the only organization dedicated to finding treatments and a cure. In just 11 years, PRF has made remarkable scientific progress, from the progeria gene discovery in 2003 to the first clinical drug trials initiated in 2007. Discovering a cure for progeria will not only save the lives of children, but could also open doors to treating many aging-related illnesses, particularly heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
"PRF is enthusiastic about the opportunity to partner with Erica and Cagnazzi Racing in our race to find a cure for progeria," said Audrey Gordon, PRF executive director. "Erica is a dynamic and determined young woman, and her dedication to children with progeria will help raise awareness of the disease and gain more supporters of our work.
"We also owe a special thanks to Gaston Kearby and his GK Motorsports team for supporting us. Gaston’s help and encouragement has been invaluable to our new partnership with Erica."
A press conference will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the zMAX Dragway media center to discuss the partnership.
PRF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation established in 1999. To learn more about progeria, log on to www.progeriaresearch.org.