By: Chelsea Cabral
For the last few years, undergraduate English student Michaella Lesieur ’18 has been working tirelessly to fight for a very personal cause. At the age of five, her mother was diagnosed with Hypereosinophilic Syndrome (HES), a type of eosinophilic disorder in which the eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) appear in above normal amounts within the body. Over the years, Lesieur has witnessed her mother’s struggles, and she is committed to helping find a cure with HOPE.
The HOPE on the Horizon Fun Run & Walk is a way in which Lesieur has utilized her writing, communications, and networking skills she’s learned as an English major to give back and help fight the debilitating disease. Lesieur partners with the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders’ (APFED), and all proceeds from the third annual walk/run will support the HOPE on the Horizon Research Fund, which provides grants to investigators allowing them to pursue unique and innovative research ideas that may lead to less invasive diagnostic measurements and more effective treatments for those suffering from eosinophil associated diseases.
“If it was not for my English major, I would not have had the success I have had with the walk so far,” Lesieur said. “It has taught me the avenues that are needed in order to take the right path towards success.”
The entire fundraising journey has been inspired by Lesieur’s mother. During an English class her senior year of high school, she started her first fundraiser. She also wrote and presented a research paper on HES to faculty and students at Westport High School, self-published a children’s book about the disease, and partnered with WPRI to assemble and launch the children’s book as a way to help children understand the importance of campaigning and fundraising for non-profit organizations.
“The book was part of my coursework as a writing, rhetoric & communication major, and I’m grateful for the positive responses I’ve received after reading it at Westport Elementary School,” said Lesieur. “Over the years, my annual HOPE on the Horizon Fun Run and Walk--New England has soared because of my experience as an English major.”
The third annual Hope on the Horizon Fun Run/Walk will take place at Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA on Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 9:00 AM, with registration beginning at 8:00 AM. Attendees can expect many surprises, special guests, a heartfelt opening ceremony, food and drinks from local bakeries, businesses and restaurants, and plenty of entertainment.
UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Civic Engagement will be providing free transportation for any student or UMass Dartmouth community member to join in on the special day. If you are interested in attending, please email Michaella Lesieur or Deirdre Healy for more information.