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Secret donor offers $600K match for teen’s MUSC fundraiser

An anonymous donor will match up to $600,000 in donations to an effort to purchase an upright...
An anonymous donor will match up to $600,000 in donations to an effort to purchase an upright MRI machine for MUSC Health, the hospital announced Tuesday.(MUSC)
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 11:51 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - An anonymous donor will match up to $600,000 in donations to an effort to purchase an upright MRI machine for MUSC Health, the hospital announced Tuesday.

The fundraising effort began with Sydney Severance, who in 2020 went from being “an active teenager and competitive tennis player to wheelchair-bound,” a release from MUSC states.

An MUSC physician suspected the cause of Severance’s debilitating pain was Ehlers Danlos Syndrome with craniocervical instability and recommended she undergo an upright MRI because traditional MRI studies do not detect the condition. But there is no upright MRI available in the Charleston area, which forced the family to travel elsewhere for the test.

MUSC says it often takes years, even decades, before patients receive a diagnosis of EDS/CCI. Severance is now recovering and is determined to help MUSC acquire an upright MRI.

“No one should have to settle for just barely surviving,” she said. “Everyone should get a chance to live their life to the fullest.”

Her fundraiser, Operation Upright, has a goal of raising $1.2 million, the estimated cost to buy an upright MRI machine.

“A standup or upright MRI can scan patients in any position, allowing it to detect problems that can’t be seen when a patient is lying down. It’s also significantly more comfortable for patients who may be claustrophobic or overweight,” MUSC Health CEO Dr. Patrick J. Cawley said. “Making this advanced technology accessible to our patients is a top priority. We’re grateful to Sydney and the Severance family for helping to make that possible.”

MUSC officials say the donor will donate up to half of the total if Severance can raise the other half.

At last check, the campaign brought in approximately $189,000 in donations.

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