May 22, 2012

Community Comes Out To Support a Good Cause

Docent Bernie Farley showed a blue-tongue skink to a delighted audience at the Team Zoey Carnival.

This Saturday the entire town turned out to raise funds for one of their own: A Verona child fighting a rare, fatal disease. Hosted by Calvary Lutheran Church, attended by community members and helped by area businesses, the Team Zoey Carnival had the community’s full support.

Not yet three-years-old Zoey Penny has been battling Progeria, a little-known disease that causes rapid aging in young children at about 7 to 10 times the normal rate, nearly her whole life. She received the diagnosis at just five months of age, and ever since her family has been working to find a cure. They formed Team Zoey and so far have held 30 events to provide funding for the Progeria Research Foundation, an organization seeking to develop treatments and find a cure for the devastating disease.

March 18, 2011

Help Local Little Girl Fight a Fatal Rare Disease

Zoey Penny is about to celebrate her first birthday this month, but before she has even turned one she has been given a fatal diagnosis.

At just 5 months of age, Zoey was diagnosed with Progeria, an extremely rare disease that causes rapid aging at about 7 to 10 times the normal rate in young children. Of the 65 known cases in the world, Zoey is believed to be the youngest person ever diagnosed with the disease.

When she was born, Zoey appeared to be a typical happy, healthy baby, but after only two months she failed to gain weight and her pediatrician noticed, “her legs were hard and her belly was swollen,” according to her mother Laura Penny. Penny, and her husband, Ian, immediately rushed Zoey to the ER, and there they began a battery of tests.

“They were testing her for so many things I didn’t even know what they were testing for,” said Penny, a Verona resident. But the tests kept coming back negative.

Zoey’s skin was the clue that gave her pediatrician and geneticist the idea of testing for Progeria. “What was happening to her skin was so odd,” said Penny. “What kind of condition could lead to that kind of skin?”