To the Editor:

Julia's Wings Foundation, a local nonprofit organization, held its first Operation Wear Red campaign during Aplastic Anemia Awareness Week March 1-7 in honor and memory of Julia Malsin.

Julia was a 13-year-old Sherman resident who fought a yearlong battle against the bone marrow failure disease.

Julia inspired many and continues to influence others by her unwavering grace and strength during what was a very difficult and painful course of treatment.

The participation in awareness week was overwhelming as JWF received support from many local schools, sports teams, businesses, organizations, the town of Sherman and people across the United States who joined together to Tie It Red.

The week began with people near and far tying a red ribbon on their mailboxes to raise awareness of Aplastic Anemia.

Pictures were received from California, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Sherman and New Milford.

JWF would like to thank the following establishments for contributing to such a successful week:

The American Pie Company, Phys-Ed, FineLine Theatre Arts, Champion All Stars Cheer Gym, Little Munchkin Day Care and the dental offices of Dr. Phillips and Lambert.

A big thank you also to Sherman School, New Fairfield High School, New Milford High School and Shepaug Valley students who participated in Operation Wear Red, along with the RMT Johnson Middle School in Bethel, which held a toy/craft drive to replenish supplies for the hematology/oncology resource room at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

We also want to extend our gratitude to the Northwestern Ice Hawks, Westco Sports, New Fairfield/Immaculate, the Lady Whalers (Julia's team) and the Shepaug and New Milford High School hockey teams who participated by taping their sticks red and/or wearing a sticker bearing the #14 in memory of Julia.

The Shepaug girls basketball team participated by wearing red socks and Julia's Wings shirts during their warmups.

New Fairfield High School dedicated a whole week to this cause with daily events created and scheduled by Molly Fitzpatrick.

A favorite was March 4 -- Perform a Random Act of Kindness in honor of Julia as this was the way she lived her life, always thinking of others.

The Sherman town hall staff participated by wearing red along with NORD (National Organization for Rare Diseases).

Finally, JWF teamed up March 7 with Western Connecticut State University's nursing program to hold a bone marrow drive and registered 43 potential donors.

It's the nonprofit organizations like JWF that are paving the way with research funds targeted at finding a cure for Aplastic Anemia.

JWF remains committed to raising awareness of this bone marrow failure disease and continuing the fight for a cure in Julia's honor.

We are so incredibly grateful and appreciative for all of the support we continue to receive.

Along with raising much-needed awareness of this bone marrow failure disease, JWF also raised more than $4,000

All proceeds will go to assisting families of children battling aplastic anemia and for medical research.

Heather Malsin

Vice President

Julia's Wings Foundation

On behalf of the JWF board