Zombies invade Bedford High

Friday, October 29, 2010



Bedford High School students and local supporters dressed as zombies Saturday night and joined in a world-wide event that also served as fundraiser for Holly’s Hope, a charity in the name of Holly Franz a BHS student who lives with Friedreich’s Ataxia, a rare and debilitating degenerative neuromuscular disorder.

“Thrill the World,” held Saturday, Oct. 23, at Bedford High School, hoped to reach their fundraising goal number of $2,000.

An annual international dance event, “Thrill the World” is where participants simultaneously emulate the zombie dance seen in the music video of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

The title of the event is taken from Jackson’s song “Heal the World.”

In an attempt to help break the world record, 100 students danced for approximately five minutes, as part of the “Thrill the World.” Thirty-four countries and more than 250 cities from all around the world were registered for the event this year.

The second annual “Thrill the World” was designed as part of the Creativity Action and Service activities requirement at Bedford High School, where students develop a range of experiential service programs with goals in mind.

Organized by Bedford High School seniors, Genevieve Spagnuolo, Danie Blevens and Christian Seaholtz said all proceeds of their fundraising effort will go directly to Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance through Holly’s Hope.

Spagnuolo, a senior, is enrolled in Bedford High’s International Baccalaureate program said that planning the event was a great experience and a great outreach to get students and parents involved in the event.

“This really unites the community, not separates it,” Spagnuolo said.

At school, Franz is known to be social and receive good grades.

But, one of the differences between Franz and other student is that she uses a wheelchair at school.

Franz, was first diagnosed at age 11, with the disease, which has no cure, and makes balance and coordination difficult, but that didn’t stop her attending the event and tapping the beat from her wheel chair.

“I’m always surrounded by great friends and an amazing family, so I don’t always feel the difference” she said.

“At first, I did not want to draw attention to my disease, and was not comfortable explaining my hardships to others. However, now I have taken on a whole new perspective.”

Franz knows what it is like to lean on friends for support. Finding it difficult to walk by herself, Holly had to overcome the emotions of being dependent on other people.

Christian Seaholtz, also a senior and close friend of Holly, was more than happy to help with the event. He understands how important it is to do something for those whom you care about.

“I’ve known Holly for several years and this makes me more attached to help her. She is so deserving of it,” Seaholtz said. “This experience has really helped me understand how to complete a large project and take on more responsibility.”

Franz is glad to raise awareness about FA and her situation, in hopes that she will help others.

“My strength and determination infected those close to me; I chose not to be intimidated by the imposing implications of my disease, and this mindset transferred to them, too.”

Blevens said she is more than happy to participate in community service, “but this event is even better, because all over the international community people are helping an organization in the world, at the same time” she said.

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