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Brooklyn has believers in Washington County

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By Brandon Mattingly

Daniel and Erin Disselkamp of Elizabethtown have been fighting for their daughter, Brooklyn, since she was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma — a form of cancer — at 14 months old on Nov. 23.

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The attention Brooklyn needs has led Erin to step away from her job to provide the everyday care her daughter needs, but the Disselkamp family has been far from alone throughout the trying process.

“The community (in Elizabethtown) has gone over and beyond our expectations. The first fundraiser we had was a Mr. Gatti’s night, and we probably had close to 1,000 people there,” said Erin’s mother, Barbara Johnson.

Fundraising has fueled the family’s efforts to help Brooklyn fight through and have included high schools, local restaurants and local churches, all pitching in to show their support.

The latest fundraiser, however, is a helping hand from the Washington County community. The WCHS volleyball team and head coach Anne Mudd are hosting a serve-a-thon this weekend to raise money for Brooklyn’s cause, and it means everything to a family that once called Washington County home.

“It was especially important because we’re from Springfield. We call Springfield home,” Johnson said. “My husband (David) lived there all his life until we moved to E-town. It’s very touching, and we’re honored that they would even consider doing that. A lot of people probably don’t even know who Brooklyn is, so even if they raise $50, it’s going to be great.”

Mudd said she had been seeing posts about the Brooklyn Believers on the Internet and realized she knew the family and knew there had to be something Washington County could do for them. The team was ready to jump at the opportunity, as Mudd was.

“They’re really excited about it. I’m tickled pink that the girls would do it,” Mudd said. “When I called them in the library (to tell them the idea), I thought at first they’d be like, ‘Oh, one more thing to do,’ but no, they all immediately wanted to sign up.”

Some middle schoolers from St. Dominic and WCMS will even take part to bring in the most donations possible.

“I pointed out that we always ask so much from the community with donations. There are times that we need to give back, and they were all for it,” Mudd added. “We even have girls that can’t  come in that weekend, but we’re going to have a day where they can serve after school, because they really want to do it.”

There has been an outpouring of support for the Disselkamps over the past few months, but Johnson said each event strengthens their faith.

“It’s overwhelming,” Johnson said. “Anne Mudd called and said she had just  found out about this, and said that they had to do something. It’s just another thing that makes you realize there are so many good people in the world, and unfortunately, all we hear about is the bad that happens.”

Players are currently collecting sponsors for the serve-a-thon who will commit an amount per successful serve attempt. Each player will attempt 100 serves, with the number of successful tries determining donation amounts.

The girls have already shown their support to the Brooklyn Believers by purchasing T-shirts, which they’ll all be sporting over the weekend. Johnson said the shirts, along with bracelets and Christmas tree ornaments, have been a boon to their fundraising efforts.

“We started out thinking if we sell 50, it’ll be great, and I guarantee we sold well over 500,” she said of the ornaments sold during the holiday season.

The website the family started, www.brooklynsbelievers.com, and their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/brooklynsbelievers, have been an avenue for people, including many Washington County residents, to send well wishes and prayers the Disselkamps’ way.

Johnson said that support has been just as important as any donations.

“Just the thought and the support and the prayers that are coming our way are enough. Every dollar is something that we didn’t expect, and we want everybody to know how grateful we are for their outpouring of concern. I guess what we want to say is just thank you.”

The serve-a-thon will be at the Washington County High School gym on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to noon and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Contact Anne Mudd at (859) 481-4445 or any volleyball player for more information.