Elvis, milk shakes expected at fundraiser for boy with medical disorder

Elvis, milk shakes expected at fundraiser for boy with medical disorder

By LIZ FREEMAN (Contact)
8:57 p.m., Thursday, April 24, 2008

Adam Saada has reached milestones.

His first birthday was April 3 and his T-cell count has reached 2,100, about halfway toward what’s normal for a healthy immune system. T-cells fight infections.

“His doctor wants him at 4,000,” said his mother, Amy Saada. “But back in September before the transplant, he had zero and now he’s beginning to have a normal immune system.”

Adam had a bone marrow transplant in September with his mother as the donor after he was diagnosed in early August with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, SCID. It’s a rare medical disorder where his body was not producing infection-fighting blood cells and a bone marrow transplant became critical for his survival.

On Saturday, an Elvis tribute artist, swing dancers, Corvette enthusiasts and milk shake fans are coming together for a ‘50s-style fundraiser at the Chick-fil-A in North Naples to help the Saada family with expenses not covered by their insurance. The restaurant is located in the Naples Center at 5825 Airport-Pulling Road.

The fundraiser begins at 6:30 a.m. when the eatery opens and 15 percent of the day’s sales will go toward a fund to help the family. Milk shakes will be free with a purchase of a combination meal.

In the afternoon, 20 to 30 members of Corvettes of Naples will show off their cars, swing dancers from Fred Astaire studio will dance and the Elvis tribute artist, Randy “Elvis” Walker, will perform from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. inside the restaurant.

There is no admission charge to see the show and proceeds will go to the family, said P.J. Rodriguez, owner of the Chick-fil-A who knows Adam’s father, Hussam Saada. Saada works at Wachovia Bank on Pine Ridge Road nearby and that is where Rodriguez learned of the family’s situation.

“My main concern is to get the word out,” Rodriguez said. “I want to help the family.”

Adam and his mother have to make frequent trips to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where he had the transplant, for checkups. Adam has had some infections lately and has gone to The Children’s Hospital at HealthPark for care while his Miami doctor has been out of town, Amy Saada said.

The family has health insurance but many expenses are not fully covered and both parents have had to take time off from work.

Amy and her husband will take turns being at the fundraiser Saturday. The family has networked with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, COTA, which helps communities organize events to help families facing organ tranplants and aftercare costs.

There have been many fundraisers in the community for Adam. For more information, visit COTA at http://www.cotaforadams.com.

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