Two Sussex Technical High School students recently won third place in the state for their efforts in research, education and fundraising to combat the rare disease known as moyamoya.
Students Abby Fowler and Molly Dopler, both sophomores from Seaford, received bronze honors at the Delaware Rare Disease Day event, competing against 11 other schools statewide. The event, held at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, showcased student efforts to draw attention to multiple rare diseases and their impact.
Fowler and Dopler focused their efforts on moyamoya disease, which can trigger strokes, seizures and other medical problems, and primarily affects children. They interviewed a neurologist and neurosurgeon, as well as the parent of a child living with moyamoya, and also raised money to aid the research effort. At Nemours, they presented their work in a poster format and took questions.
This was Sussex Tech’s first year sending a team to Rare Disease Day, and Fowler and Dopler did a great job, said health professions instructor Nancy Massaro. “Their grace and professionalism, along with their research and presentation style, earned them third in the state, which is phenomenal work,” Massaro said.
The Rare Disease Day event is a partnership between Nemours and HOSA – Future Health Professionals, of which Dopler and Fowler are both members. They are studying health professions at Sussex Tech, a program which prepares students for careers in healthcare and offers the opportunity to become certified nurse assistants upon graduation. Both plan careers in the medical field after graduation.