Fundraiser held for ‘Otsego’s biggest cheerleader’ battling deadly brain disease

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OTSEGO, Mich. — An outpouring of community support filled the Otsego High School gymnasium Saturday night raising money to help a mother of four battling a deadly brain disease.

Val Davis was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob's disease in the fall of 2015.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, the disease is a rare, degenerative, fatal brain disorder affecting about one person in every one million people per year worldwide.

Community members gathered to watch a basketball game between the boys and girls varsity basketball teams and Otsego alumni. Donations for the Davis family were accepted at the door as admission.

"Its shocking to see everyone come together for my family. It’s great to see, I’m very thankful for it," said Val's daughter, Hailey Davis, a senior at Otesego High School.

Jeannice Wisnaski was among many attending Saturday's fundraiser. A family friend for quite some time, Wisnaski was devastated to learn of Val's diagnosis.

"They just love each other so much. Whenever you leave an event, you can just feel the spirt. It’s so strong, I get goosebumps when I think about it," said Wisnaski.

Val has been a passionate supporter of her children while playing sports in school.

"You could always hear her from the stands. No matter where she was or how loud the gym was, she stood out over everyone," said Hailey.

"You could hear her above the crowd cheering everyone on. It wasn’t just her kids, it was the whole team," said Wisnaski.

Following the basketball game, students held a lock in inside Otsego High School. For $10, students stayed until midnight playing basketball, glow in the dark tag, and mini golf.

"We are so happy with the turnout," said Sam Bartz, a member of the Otsego High School Student Council. "We're so happy the community can come together at a time like this and really give support."

Over $6,000 has been raised during Saturday night's fundraiser.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the family with medical costs associated with Val's diagnosis.

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1 Comment

  • Arturo de la Cerda

    I am sorry to read of Val’s do agnoses. My dad was bank not her and her family are in my thoughts and prayers. My dad will diagnosed with the same herendious disease into thousand two. He acourageously phot this disease for four and a half months. Passing away one month after his 56th birthday (even though we saw symptoms of the disease 10 years earlier prior to the diagnosis).
    If anybody in the family has a Facebook account, there are many groups and message boards dealing with CJD and other prion diseases. And open group we have is called ” CJD family”