Hannah's Hope Fund in running for $250,000

SARANAC - Every day for the past two weeks, Carrie Favaro has turned on her computer, hoping to see yet another person supporting the mission of Hannah's Hope Fund.

The nonprofit organization - whose mission is to eradicate giant axonal neuropathy (GAN), an inherited neurological disorder - has been in the running since Aug. 1 for a $250,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project.

Hannah's Hope Fund has special meaning for Favaro, whose niece, Hannah Sames of Rexford, was diagnosed with the condition in 2008 at the age of 3. Favaro and her sister, Lori Sames - Hannah's mother who is formerly from Plattsburgh - joined other family members in submitting their cause to Pepsi for funding. And, it worked.

"We were up until midnight July 31 to submit it because they only take the first 1,000 ideas in each category every month," explained Favaro. "We got in and they approved our application."

Though the road to receive the funding is far from over. The power of the people will decide the fate of the Hannah's Hope Fund request, which, if awarded, will help with clinical human trials of gene therapy to correct the condition. The Refresh Everything Project opens submitted causes up to the public to vote on which projects they'd like to see funded most.

And, though Hannah's Hope Fund is competing against 1,231 other submissions in their category, there is a ray of hope, said Favaro.

"Right now, we're ranked 59th out of all of them," Favaro said in an interview last week. "Just a few days ago, we were ranked 432nd. That just shows you how quickly it can climb."

The numbers have even climbed more since then. As of Tuesday morning, Hannah's Hope Fund was ranked 46th.

Why are the numbers jumping so fast? Favaro thinks she has an idea.

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