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To the 30,000 People Trying to Save My Daughter's Life


There are so many people I don’t thank enough — 30,000 of them actually. From 70 countries. In just the past year, these people have helped with the effort to help save my daughter, Eliza, and stop Sanfilippo Syndrome for children.

How do you thank an entire elementary school or an entire church congregation? A blast email or letter doesn’t seem sufficient. Sure, end of year thank you’s and tax receipts will go out, but that doesn’t seem personal enough. Neither do Facebook “Thank you” posts. 

Maybe writing here about how it makes us feel would help.

I want people to know that every comment, every note, every donation, every prayer, every second someone spends thinking about our family and my daughter matters. We see everything that comes our way, and I want them to know here we’re thanking them every second. This support allows us to continue. It allows us to push the dark thoughts away. To keep hope when desperation and despair want to creep in. Your support has carried us as a family this past year. All of you, I thank from the bottom of my heart.

I thank the children who have given up their birthday presents this year in lieu of donations (this one gets me every time, as kids love their presents). I thank the mother in Finland who donated on Finland’s Father’s Day in honor of her dad because, as she wrote, “When thinking about a gift for my father I suddenly thought about you and your family. I could easily imagine that if my life had been on the line, my dad would have fought for me exactly the way you are fighting to save Eliza.” I thank the college students raising funds at their schools and donating themselves. I thank the youth at events holding signs, I thank the dress down days, I thank the dance-a-thons. I thank the restaurants and the businesses. I thank the individuals and families struggling on their own, yet still offering to help us. And I thank everyone in between.

There’s no way to express what the comments and personal messages mean to us. They make the hard days and minutes easier. And it inspires us to press on. Just words aren’t enough. I feel you’d want us to thank you by simply holding her, hugging her, loving her and making sure we’re doing everything in our power to save her. I can assure you that we are, and we will.

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We’re now just days away from our final push on November 16, Eliza’s fifth birthday, to try to reach the goal at www.SavingEliza.com (#1Day1Goal). As we help her blow out the candles, we’ll be closing our eyes together as a family and thanking you for giving her the gift of a chance at life. For that and for everything else, a sincere and humble thank you.

Glenn O’Neill (Eliza’s Dad)

Eliza Birthday Wish Life Nov 16

For all of November, The Mighty is celebrating the people we don’t thank enough. If you’d like to participate, please submit a thank you note along with a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to [email protected].

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