Debra’s Smile Fund Program Open to All Ages for Mini Wishes

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by Vanda Pinto, PhD |

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Smile Fund Program

People of all ages with epidermolysis bullosa (EB) are invited to have their “mini wishes” — for things from iPads to concert tickets to birthday parties — granted by the Smile Fund Program.

The Smile Fund program, created by the Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America, known as Debra of America, currently is accepting applications for mini wishes from patients with EB.

The initiative arose from a collaboration between Debra and the family and friends of Grace Peshkur, a young girl who died at age 7 from EB, to offer an extra smile to those with the skin disorder.

“In honor of Grace and her heroism, we have started the Smile Fund,” Karen Peshkur, Grace’s mother, states on the Debra’s Smile Fund Program site.

“This program will grant mini wishes for those who need some happiness. These heroes deserve smiles with all the pain they must endure each moment of each day,” Karen Peshkur said.

Participants with the condition, or those applying on behalf of someone with EB, can start the application process through this link. The completed form should then be emailed to Debra at [email protected] or sent by mail.

“Keep sharing their stories and fighting for a cure. Let’s support each other and together we can create smiles,” Karen Peshkur said.

To be eligible, applicants must be living in the U.S. and cannot be previous award winners of the Smile Fund. Each month, an awardee is announced based on the review of all applications by a nominated committee. Applicants not awarded will be considered again every month until the end of the current calendar year.

As a rule, the mini wish must only be made possible with the help of the Smile Fund.

Applicants are encouraged to request what would make them smile the most. According to the website, some of the most asked mini wishes include iPads, laptops, tablets, and video game consoles, birthday or graduation parties, and tickets to sports events and theater/musical concerts. Wishes for shopping sprees, DVDs, toys, books, games, and art supplies also have been granted.

Awardees will be informed of a timeframe of when they can expect to receive their mini wish. The time to process the mini wish may depend on the type of request.

Debra is an association that funds research on the diagnosis, treatment, and cure of EB. It also has free programs and services that provide information and support to people with the disease, as well as their families.