Poppy’s Hope brings community together

Mark Medoff with his granddaughter Hope Harrison. Courtesy photo.
Mark Medoff with his granddaughter Hope Harrison. Courtesy photo.
Tony-winning playwright Mark Medoff and his wife, Stephanie, and the Medoff ’s daughter and son-in-law, Rachel and Bobby Harrison, will host a fundraiser for the Hope E. Harrison Foundation to raise $1 million to fund education and research about a chromosomal abnormality called Trisomy 18 (T18).

The Harrison’s daughter and Medoff ’s granddaughter, Hope, suffers from T18. The fundraiser is a celebration of her second birthday (April 11), which is a rare milestone for those who suffer from T18. Most children who have the disease don’t survive childbirth, and of those who do, only about 10 percent make it to their first birthdays; only about two percent celebrate their second birthdays.

The fundraiser will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 24, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road. Tickets are $45 each, $70 per couple and $15 for children under 12. For $1,000, you get 10 tickets, front-row seating, and acknowledgement from the stage.

The event will include dessert and a show. Performances include:
• Hope’s father, Dr. Bobby Harrison, and his sister-in-law (and Hope’s aunt), Jessica Medoff Bunchmann, will perform Hope, a new song written by singersongwriter Dennis D’Amico.

• Country singer and Las Cruces native Josh Grider premiering A Mother’s Song of Hope, written by Grider and Medoff;

• Gracie Marks, the Medoffs’ granddaughter and Hope’s cousin, a student at Zia Middle School, will perform a song written by nationally known singersongwriter Rachel Platten, by special permission of Platten.

• “Poppy Mark” Medoff will perform a 25–minute section of a one-person show called Hope Full: A Reckoning with the Universe.

Hope surrounded by her loving brothers. Courtesy photo.
Hope surrounded by her loving brothers. Courtesy photo.
T18 impacts one out of every 3,000 pregnancies in the United States, according to Hope-Full.org.

It is a “condition which is caused by an error in cell division,” according to trisomy18.org. “When this happens, instead of the normal pair, an extra chromosome 18 results (a triple) in the developing baby and disrupts the normal pattern of development in significant ways that can be life-threatening, even before birth. It is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome rather than the pair of chromosome 18.”

Hope was on oxygen the first year of her life and could eat only through a feeding tube. She made regular trips to see medical professionals and was transported twice to the intensive care unit at El Paso Children’s Hospital.

Her multiple life-threatening health issues have included liver cancer, several bouts of pneumonia, three holes in her heart, a club foot, malrotation of her intestines, a hernia and a misshapen kidney. She also has hearing and vision problems.

For information on the fundraiser and on T-18, visit Hope-Full.org. You can send a donation to the Hope E. Harrison Foundation, P.O. Box 1801, Mesilla Park, New Mexico 88947.