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Dendekker siblings inspire fundraiser

Inspired by two of her younger patients, Dr. Sandra Malpass decided to do something different for her annual holiday fundraiser.

Like many in the community, the Ancaster chiropractor was touched by the story of Warren, 8, and Katharine, 5, Dendekker, two siblings fighting against long odds for nothing more than the opportunity to become adults.

The Dendekker siblings were diagnosed about two years ago with Sanfilippo Syndrome. Children with the degenerative genetic disorder are missing an essential enzyme that breaks down sugars.  The result is a build-up in the brain and other organs, which ultimately stops development and causes hyperactivity, sleep disorders, seizures, loss of speech and mobility, mental regression and dementia. 

Since 1990, Dr. Malpass has held annual holiday raffles and fundraisers in support of numerous charities. But this year, she decided to back the Sanfilippo Children’s Research Foundation, to help raise money to fund research, and ultimately, a cure. Since 1999 the foundation has raised more than $4.5 million .

“If we can be any small part of the cure or research, that would be amazing,” said Malpass.

During the holidays, patients were asked to donate a minimum of $2 in exchange for a sparkling ornament displayed in the waiting room. Patients’ donations were matched by Dr. Malpass.

The Dendekker siblings attend special classes at Beverly Central School. Warren is a lovable, non-verbal child. About a year ago, Katherine lost all her language skills about a year ago, after symptoms of Sanfilippo Syndrome took over her body. She was once a chatty, bubbly girl who loved to sing. 

For more information on the SCRF, visit the website alifeforelisa.org.

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