More than $5,500 was raised Sunday afternoon during a silent and live auction at Pat Troy's Ireland's Own Restaurant and Pub to benefit the Lacey Rae Foundation for Children With Disabilities, Inc. It will be used to further the progress of Lacey Rae, born with cerebral palsy, who took her first steps just before her ninth birthday, May 2.
"I did this because of the children. They are our future. If we can't step up the plate for them what is the future of the country. I hope to see her walk in here on her own one day," Troy said prior to serving as auctioneer at his 111 N. Pitt St. establishment.
Lacey Rae Milner is the daughter of Alexandria Police Detective Ed Milner and his wife Theresa. "My wife has never stopped trying to find a solution and we have never given up hope," Ed Milner said.
"Friends and neighbors have had fund-raisers for us. But, we also decided it was time to aid other families with similar situations. We even held a fund-raiser in Chicago," he said. Milners are residents of Ruby, Va., just south of Stafford.
Lacey Rae is one of three Milner children. Both Tim, 15, and Brandon, 13, are healthy, according to Theresa Milner. "We didn't get an accurate diagnosis of Lacey until she was nearly two years old," she said.
"We've had five fund-raisers so far and have raised nearly $20,000. But, most of that has been used up in her treatment," Theresa Milner said. During her first four years of life, Lacey Rae saw more doctors than most adults throughout a life time.
HER GREATEST PROGRESS has been made by visiting a doctor at The Advanced Magnetic Institute in Mockville, N.C. "She slept under a magnetic field for 200 hours. Now she is able to walk. But, the treatment cost $50 per hour for a total of $10,000," Theresa Milner said.
"We are scheduled to go back to North Carolina in November. It's worth every penny to see her progressing," Lacey's mother said.
She will be undergoing more magnetic treatments, according to Theresa Milner. Prior to visiting the Institute, the Milners had visited 17 specialists throughout the Greater Washington Area. Then came a break through with a doctor in Houston, Texas.
With the therapy prescribed by him, Lacey Rae began to make progress, according to her mother. "She began to speak, crawl and use a walker," Theresa Milner said.
"I can not express what it's like to see your child walk for the first time at nine years old. I can't say it's a miracle. But, it's awfully close," Ed Milner said.
A deputy sheriff, at the time of Lacey's birth, Ed Milner had applied for a position with the Alexandria Police Department. "When Lacey was two days old we didn't know if she would live or not. That's when Ed was called by the police department to take his physical and stress test. How he passed I'll never know," Theresa Milner said.
In his nine plus years on the Alexandria force Milner has been awarded two medals of valor.
IN ADDITION to various fund-raisers, Milners also received a $10,000 gift from Jack Taylor, of Jack Taylor Alexandria Toyota, to continue Lacey Rae's treatments. In her case the disease has caused low muscle tone, contributing to her lack of mobility, according to her mother.
One of those attending Sunday's fund-raiser was Alexandria Councilman Andrew Macdonald. "It's great that Pat does things like this. He's always trying to help people in need. It shows how much he cares about the entire Alexandria Community," Macdonald said.
Among the auction items were a $200 service certificate from Taylor's Alexandria Toyota, concert tickets at The Birchmere, golf for four with a cart from the Northern Virginia Park Authority, two nights at the Jekyll Island Days Inn, Scottish Merchant cigars, and a host of free meals at various area eateries.
At the North Carolina Institute, under the direction of Larry Pearce, M.D., a treatment is administered known as Magnetic Molecular Energizing, or MME. It consists of applying high direct currents of electromagnetic fields to the human body.
MME "is similar to an MRI, but is a treatment rather than a diagnostic tool," according to an Institute brochure. "It enhances the body's ability to make stem cells, and helps all tissue regenerate faster than usual," the brochure stated.
MME is considered experimental by the FDA and not covered by insurance. The $50 per hour cost of a session covers "residential accommodations" for family members, and according to the brochure, pre- and post-treatment medical evaluations, physical and therapeutic massage therapy are usually covered by insurance.