Hannah's Hope wins 250k from Pepsi Challenge - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hannah's Hope wins 250k from Pepsi Challenge

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) –A south Georgia family is celebrating what could be lifesaving news. Just minutes before online voting ended last night, a charity called Hannah's Hope got enough votes to qualify for a 250,000 dollar grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project.

That money could help provide experimental treatment for a Tifton boy who suffers from an extremely rare neurological disorder.

Just three years ago 11-year old Lottyn Bates was diagnosed with GAN or Giant Axonal Neuropathy. It slowly takes away the ability to walk, use one's hands, speak and swallow. Fewer than 20 kids have the disease but Hannah's Hope is dedicated to finding possible treatment and a cure.

11-year old Lottyn Bates says he didn't get much sleep last night, "I was too excited," said Bates.

Yesterday, she hit the pavement hoping to stir up some last minute support for the cause. "We put up marquees all over town, we handed out cards that said vote at insurance agencies fast food restaurants," said Magaen.

And up until last night it appeared their grassroots efforts were paying off. "We stayed number one until 11:15pm last night and from ten seconds went to one to two to three, that's when we called everyone we knew," said Bates.

But this morning they both woke up to a huge and unexpected surprise. "This morning my mom woke up like we won we won," said Bates.

The top two vote getters earned the grant. That means the Hannah's hope foundation will receive 250,000 dollars which will go towards funding a clinical trial for those suffering from GAN. "In America we want to treat the masses, so when you have 13 people its hard to get support," said Magaen.

But thanks to all the people that submitted their vote the few children like Lottyn who have this rare disease will be one step closer to a cure. "We are just a group of GAN moms who are relying on our family, our friends our community and by evidence of this vote that's all we need," said Magaen.

Proof that just a few people can make a huge difference in someone's life.

Lottyn's mother says Pepsi's server was overloaded last night because so many people voted at the last minute. She and Lottyn thank everyone who cast their vote because it made a huge difference.

The Juvenile Mitosis Foundation finished first in the voting. The official Pepsi Refresh grant announcements will come next month.

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