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Church congregation fundraises, holds blood drive for member with rare blood disorder



COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – Awaken Church in Columbia’s congregation raised over $7,000 for one of their very own Saturday.

35-year-old, Amy Azarias was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome two years ago, which is a rare blood disorder. If left untreated, it can lead to Acute Leukemia, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases.

Azarias is undergoing a bone marrow transplant in September, so her church wanted to help cover costs of her treatment.

About 150 people walked through the doors of Awaken Church to give blood, worship, and fundraise Azarias, who made Columbia home after working with Americorps during the 2015 flood.

RELATED STORY | The days the rain wouldn’t stop: Remembering the 2015 flood

MDS typically impacts men more than women, and is more common in people over 60 years old, which left medical experts puzzled when Azarias was diagnosed.

“At first, it was just really confusing. Even the doctors didn’t believe that I have what I have,” Amy Azarias said.

As a precursor for acute leukemia, she had to start taking chemo pills in May, and luckily, she says she has received a match for a bone marrow transplant.

She is set to begin intense chemo-therapy next month, so Awaken Church wanted to help cover the costs by holding a raffle and market to fundraise, an idea her best friend of over a decade, Chloe Finnigan spear-headed.

“She is the most caring person that I have ever met. She gives so much, and thinks of others first. She is the most selfless person,” Finnigan said.

If interested in donating to Amy’s treatment, visit https://www.freefunder.com/campaign/amy-jo-bmt

“I have to believe, and I do believe that He does work everything out. While this is impacting my life, it is not about me, and that has brought so much peace.”

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