Real People: Woman dedicated to raising funds for foundation

by Symptom Advice on April 26, 2012

With help from family, friends and other supporters, Danette Anderson has raised more than $100,000 for the Vasculitis Foundation.

The Alamance County woman has no plans to slow her efforts. Instead, she and other organizers are busy preparing for another fundraiser in May.

This year’s event will be the 11th Annual N.C. Fundraiser for Vasculitis. The first 10 events, held since 2002, have raised a total of $101,492.

Anderson has Wegener’s Granulomatosis, which the Vasculitis Foundation groups with related diseases in promoting education and research and in supporting those who suffer from disease. Wegener’s Granulomatosis involves inflamed blood vessels, and can result in a variety of severe health issues.

“I’ve had sinus surgery, lung surgery (and) all kinds of chemo treatment,” Anderson said.

This year’s fundraiser is planned for May 5 at the Burlington Shrine Club. Anderson said a motorcycle run has historically been the focal point of the event. but with so many of the runs organized in the area, she and other organizers are shifting the focus to food, music, and drawings for prizes. A motorcycle ride will still be included if the weather is good that day.

On Friday afternoon, Anderson had set up at the outside entrance of Hamrick’s at Holly Hill Mall in Burlington, accepting donations (people who gave got a brownie or cookies), passing out education information and promoting the May 5 event. The store had a sidewalk sale going on, making it easier for Anderson and family members to get people’s attention.

Nothing has been more important than support from her family, Anderson said. that includes her parents, Danner and Shirley Ferguson; her husband, Randy Anderson; two daughters, Lisa Hall and Kimberly Anderson; two brothers, Craig Ferguson and Jay Ferguson; and four grandchildren, Lexie, Abby, Kayla and Isabel.

“I’ve had nieces running lemonade stands, to selling tickets, to everything,” she said.

The fundraiser typically draws people from other states who have connections to the disease.

“we have people coming from Virginia (and) some from South Carolina,” Anderson said. “One couple came from Kentucky one year.

“This is supposed to be the biggest fundraiser that the Vasculitis Foundation has that is ongoing,” Anderson said.

Anderson, now 54, first went to the doctor in 1996 with the symptoms that led to her diagnosis with Wegener’s Granulomatosis.

In 2005, a study grant awarded to Duke University’s School of Medicine for research into the disease was named in her honor.

And at a symposium about the disease in Chapel Hill last year, Anderson was recognized for surpassing the $100,000 mark in raising money for the foundation.

“that really shocked me,” she said.

Mike Wilder can be reached at or 336-506-3046.

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