Group of High School Freshmen Run Lemonade Stands, Bake Sales and Car Washes for Long-Time Friend Facing Devastating Illness

Danville, California (EastBayDaily) — When Mary and Joe McHale took their 6-month old son Danny to see his pediatrician for a routine checkup in 2001, they mentioned one minor concern about their young son’s development– his difficulty sitting independently. Referred to a neurologist for further evaluation, the family received the diagnosis feared above all others: “Your child has a terminal disease. There is nothing we can do. He’s not expected to live past his first birthday”.

The family reached out to an organization called Cure SMA (formerly Families of SMA) for help. Armed with an unwavering commitment to their son and tremendous community support, they organized the first-ever Concert for a Cure in 2001. This musical event took place in friend’s back yard and raised $7500 for Families of SMA’s research program. Thanks to dedicated volunteers, business sponsors and numerous supporters over the last 14 years, Concert for a Cure has raised over $1,000,000 for CSMA’s research for treatment and support for SMA and related neuromuscular diseases, and has become one of the largest fundraisers for the disease.

Danny McHale is now a popular 14 year old freshman at Monte Vista High School in Danville, CA. Bound to a wheelchair since the age of two, Danny is otherwise a typical teenage boy, passionate about the San Francisco Giants and San Jose Sharks and active with the Boy Scouts of America. While Danny suffers from an incurable disease, his life and his parent’s long-time quest for a cure have inspired the entire town of Danville. Brady Martin, a friend of Danny’s since the sixth grade, decided in 2012 that Danny’s friends should help the adult organizers of the annual fundraising event benefiting Danny and others like him.

“There’s a passion around the event knowing that the funds we raise go to help Danny and other kids with SMA” said Martin. While in the seventh grade, Martin organized a group of kids to run a lemonade stand to benefit that year’s Concert for a Cure event. The first day’s sales were two hundred dollars, and the kids were hooked. That year they donated just over $1,800 to the charity. "We are awed and humbled by the dedication and commitment these teens show to finding a cure for their friend" said Mary McHale.

After netting out $2,800 in donations last year, Martin and a group of about 25 freshmen recently met to plan for their 2015 fundraising efforts. The group agreed that social media was a great platform to spread Danny’s message, and to help raise awareness of SMA. They launched a Twitter account called @CureForDanny on March 19th, and quickly gained over 500 followers. But the initial success would pale in comparison to what came next.

On the morning of March 30th, Martin came up with a plan to leverage the power of Twitter. After soliciting $5 donations from a group of twenty Monte Vista students for every “retweet” he could earn, Martin crafted a new message on Twitter after school that he hoped might attract twenty retweets. It did – in about four minutes. What happened next surprised everyone. The tweet quickly eclipsed 100 retweets. While Danny’s friends were happy about the amazing response, the kids were also more than a little nervous. The amazing response on Twitter meant much larger than expected donations, and financial support from parents might be required. Once the tweet reached 5,000 retweets, the kids realized that they alone couldn't honor their well-intended pledges. As this article is being written, the March 30 tweet from @CureForDanny has 38,000 retweets. You can see updated numbers here:

Thanks to the efforts of Danny’s friends and their tweets on @CureForDanny on Twitter, awareness of SMA is at an all-time high. We are very close to finding a cure, with six new promising drugs in development. If you’d like to donate to help Danny’s friends cover their pledges for all of these “retweets” and help fight SMA, or just to support this year's event, please go to: and press the “Dollars for Danny” button.

About Concert for a Cure

Concert for a Cure began in 2001 and has since grown to be one of the largest annual fundraisers benefiting Cure SMA. This year's Concert for a Cure shoots for the stars on Saturday, May 9th 2015 from 6pm – 11pm at the Diablo Country Club, Danville, CA. (1700 Clubhouse Road, Diablo). For more information, to purchase tickets or to make a donation, go to

About Cure SMA

Cure SMA ( leads the way to a world without spinal muscular atrophy, the number one genetic killer of infants. We fund and direct comprehensive research that drives breakthroughs in treatment and care, and we provide families the support they need for today.

About DataXoom

DataXoom Corp. connects businesses to the mobile internet. We're a proud supporter of the Concert for a Cure and Cure SMA. For more information, visit or follow the company on Twitter at


Rob Chamberlin


Mary McHale

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