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YellowJackets Spring Concert Fights Rare Disease

March 19, 2013
Concert for a Cure

Proceeds to Benefit Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance

The University of Rochester YellowJackets will raise funds for non-profit Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), during their spring concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 5, in Strong Auditorium.

While past YellowJacket concerts have raised funds for music education, they were called on by fellow Rochester student Sarah Gelbard ’13, to lend their star power to a cause close to her heart. A native of Pittsford, N.Y., Gelbard has watched her best friend, Laura Ferrarone, suffer from Friedreich’s ataxia, a debilitating neuromuscular disease. Laura’s sister, Sara, also suffered from the disease and passed away in November at the age of 26. But, the strength of the Ferrarone family, and their work raising thousands of dollars for FA research inspired Gelbard to do the same. She found a powerful ally in senior YellowJacket Galen Dole, whose younger sister Marlise was diagnosed with FA at the age of eight.

“Like Sarah, I have watched someone I love lose her mobility and confront hardships that no one should have to confront—all with the sunniest of dispositions,” says Dole. “In honor of Sara and Laura Ferrarone and Marlise, the YellowJackets are proud to raise funds for and awareness of this rare, devastating, and life-shortening disease.”

Together, Gelbard and Dole are committed to raising $10,000 by April 11, Laura Ferrarone’s birthday. All proceeds from the concert will go to FARA, as well as money raised through the sale of limited edition YellowJackets fan t-shirts. Additionally, from now until May 19, the YellowJackets will donate all money raised from the online sale of their hit cover of Taylor Swift’s “You belong to me,” available for purchase here. Gelbard and Dole also created a page onGoFundMe, which allows visitors to make online donations.

“I know that the curing of a tremendously complicated genetic disease is, well, tremendously complicated—but I also know that it is possible,” Gelbard says, pointing to the Ferrarone family’s work creating a worldwide patient registry for the disease as an important first step. “Sara was the first person to be entered into the worldwide patient registry in Rochester, and perhaps Laura will be the first person to see the benefits of a cure.”

Tickets, which are on sale now at the Common Market in Wilson Commons or online, are $7 for University undergraduates, $10 for University graduate students, faculty, and staff, and $15 for the general public. The YellowJackets also will host a meet and greet reception from 6:30 to 8 p.m. prior to the concert. Tickets for the reception, which include preferred seating at the concert, are $25.

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Category: Student Life