TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State will wear a special “I Fight Fanconi” Kidz1stFund decal on the back of its helmets in the season opener against Oklahoma State in the Advocare Cowboys Classic on Saturday.
The decal represents the team’s support for a very personal cause for FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher and his wife Candi. The Fishers began Kidz1stFund in 2011 to raise awareness for a rare blood disease, Fanconi anemia, which afflicts their younger son Ethan.
“The effort to raise resources for research for Fanconia anemia and many similar diseases has become very personal for many Florida State fans because of the Fisher family,” Florida State Director of Athletics Stan Wilcox said. “It is gratifying that we have been able to raise the profile of the life-saving research that is needed in so many areas through Kidz1st.”
It’s the second consecutive season opener that the Seminoles will don the decal on the helmet as FSU and Pitt both wore it in last season’s opener after the story of 2-year old Logan Stevenson from Western Pennsylvania became national news. The terminally ill boy who was born with Fanconi anemia served as the best man in his parents wedding before passing away on August 6.
For the Advocare Classic, the Fishers have invited 11-year old, Gage Klein of Andrews, Texas, and his family to the game. Klein, who was a promising young athlete in competitive motocross, was diagnosed with FA less than one year ago. He will be accompanied by his parents Casey and Barbara and grandparents, Tracy and Donald Spurlock.
“Jimbo and I were thrilled when the Klein family contacted us after the National Championship win offering their support to Kidz1stFund and our FA research efforts,” Candi Fisher said. “We are pleased that they accepted our offer to be our special guests for FSU’s season opener against OSU in Dallas, and have arranged for a special pre-game surprise with the help of our good friend and motocross star, Ricky Carmichael. Gage’s motocross dreams might be on hold for a while, but until the University of Minnesota finds better treatment options, we will do everything in our power to raise research funds for Gage Klein, our son Ethan, and all the others fighting Fanconi anemia.”
The Seminoles face the Cowboys at 8 p.m. on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game will air live on ABC and ESPN’s College GameDay show will be on site.
Last Friday, Kidz1stFund hosted a Bone Marrow Donor Drive at the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility, where several FSU student-athletes and athletic department staff members were registered on the Be The Match Registry.