gmhTODAY 21 gmhToday Aug Sept 2018 - Page 14

The Dream of a Cure Johnathan’s Dreams Written By Kimberly Ewertz E ven a super hero needs reinforce- ments in the fight against evil, and 12-year-old Johnathan Spencer of Gilroy, a real life super hero, receives continued support from the entire South County community in his battle against Niemann Picks Disease Type C, (NPC). A disease with no known cure. That support began in July 2010 at Fortino Winery with the first Johnathan’s Dreams, a fundraising event held for Johnathan. The event took place four months after his mother, Rebecca Spencer 14 White, received her son’s diagnosis—a day she will never forget. “It was March 9 th , I was working over- nights and I was asleep, and I got a phone call from the doctor. She said ‘I’m so sorry, he has Niemann Picks Type C.’ I just remember screaming,” Rebecca said. The annual event, which recently took place on July 14, is nine years strong, and continues to raise funds for research of the rare disease that occurs once in approximately every 120,000 births. Keith Spencer, Johnathan’s father, says GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 his son “is a normal 12-year-old, with a super hero attitude.” The couple credit their friends, Adam and Chenine Jones, with the success of the annual event. “It all came from one guy and his wife that decided if they couldn’t do anything to cure the disease, we were going to find a cure,” Rebecca said. “That first year we raised twenty thousand dollars.” NPC, a genetically-inherited disease, affects the body’s ability to metabolize cholesterol and lipids within cells, which