Florida State cheerleader Dani Palazzo attended FSU’s Dance Marathon earlier this year to help raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network. While there, she met a young lady who spoke about donating bone marrow, and her words convinced Palazzo to be swabbed at the Kidz1stFund table at the event, and be entered into the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry. “I never expected to be a match for someone,” Palazzo said.
It didn’t take long to get a call. Palazzo found out that she was a perfect match just a few months later.
Now, she is going to help a 69-year old-woman’s life by donating bone marrow.
“I called my dad about it because I knew he had been a match,” Palazzo said. “I almost teared up, because I may be saving someone’s life right now. And he was like, ‘You have to do it.’”
Busy with not just school, but also a commitment to the Florida State cheerleading team, Palazzo had to check with her parents and coaches before making a final decision.
“I never thought I wouldn’t go through with it but I did have to talk to my mom, talk to my dad, talk to my coach just to make sure I could do it,” Palazzo said. “I wanted to do it in the back of my mind, but I had to make sure I was OK to do it.
“But I never had a doubt in my mind that I wanted to do it.”
Because this all started with a simple swab, spurred on by encouragement from the Kidz1stFund, Palazzo wanted to share the news with Florida State’s head football coach and founder of Kidz1stFund, Jimbo Fisher.
“It meant so much to me,” Palazzo said. “It’s so cool to see his face light up when I told him about it, and it’s so awesome to see that it’s so near and dear to his heart.”
Fisher started the Kidz1stFund in 2011, when his youngest son, Ethan, was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia. But he has long maintained that the Kidz1stFund is about helping people across the country and around the world.
“God reaches to people in funny ways and does things that you never think,” Fisher said.
“Who would have ever thought, we start a foundation here and (Palazzo) comes down here to Florida State and now she is saving some 69-year-old woman’s life. That’s incredible. That’s what athletics, sports, school and life is all about. What a great gift by her, and I am glad we could be a small part of that.”
A sign that his foundation is making a difference.
“We are trying to help Ethan, but we are trying to help everyone out there,” Fisher said. “We got an outreach and voice that can be heard more so than some folks and we use it for the right reasons.”