The Illinois College Women’s Basketball team is gearing up for a game with Midwest Conference foe Beloit College this weekend. However, it’s a game that has special meaning for one member of the team. Senior Forward Carly Cameron, a native of Hillsboro, asked the Athletic Department if they could help spread awareness for a rare disease that touched a member of her hometown.
Eight-year-old Grace Herschelman is battling a rare genetic disorder called Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy. Cameron says that she’s played in “Grace Games” at her high school and wanted to keep spreading the word. “Grace’s family has always been a big supporter of any local basketball players. At home in Hillsboro, we always have ‘Grace Games’ for her, so I thought it would be a good idea to spread INAD Awareness here in Jacksonville. The families have setup a research fund at Washington University in St. Louis. It’s where the INAD ‘Search For the Cure Program’ happens.”
The rare genetic disorder affects about 100 children worldwide, and children afflicted with the disease only have a life expectancy of 10 years of age. In lieu of admission fees on Saturday, a donation box will be placed at the front of the Bruner Center for anyone who wants to donate to help the Herschelman family and those affected by the disease.
Cameron says people can show support by wearing purple on Saturday as well as IC’s blue and white. “The other piece of advice I’d give to people is to not take life for granted, because there are people like Grace who live life so happily each and every day.”
Fans in attendance are also encouraged to use the hashtag #BeatINAD when posting pictures from the game to social media on Saturday.
For more information on Grace’s journey, go to agracefilledjourney.com or follow “A Grace Filled Journey” on Facebook. To make a donation online, go to inadcure.org.