Laura T. Coffey, a Pacific Northwest based writer-producer for the Today show website, has an inspiring look today at the way more than $20,000 has been raised by Star Wars fans in support of a west Los Angeles couple struggling to figure out what is afflicting their four-month-old daughter Leah (pictured). The newborn has been the victim of mysterious, frightening seizures.
Along with celebrity donors such as Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and voice actor Stephen Stanton (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), the grassroots social media campaign aimed at Zev and Francesca Esquenazi has attracted the attention of a Muscular Dystrophy Association researcher, who has offered to include Leah in a gene-splicing study. It’s almost too much for Zev to handle:
“To have the support of my fellow nerds right now–it’s just amazing,” he said. “I remember as a kid I used to get beat up because I used to bring my Star Wars action figures to school, and now these are the same people who have come to my aid and are trying to help a little girl they’ve never met before.”
Even though Zev is a hardcore Star Wars fan, he tells Coffey that Leah was actually named after his sister, not the Carrie Fisher character. This new Leah tale has attracted a lot of local media attention as well from CBS 2, KTLA, Univision and the Daily Bruin.