The science fiction TV series "Battlestar Galactica" has brought together two moms on opposite ends of the continent with critically ill daughters and inspired a fundraising campaign on their behalf.
Amber Greenawalt of Charlotte, N.C., and Canadian Lindsay Cairns Lennox of Kelowna, British Columbia met after Greenawalt approached Lennox's sister, Leah Cairns, who played Margaret Edmonson on the show, at a "Galacticon" convention in Houston in May.
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"Walking into it I had no idea that watching a show about a rag-tag fleet fighting for survival would have such an impact on our story of survival," said Greenawalt, whose daughter, Savannah, suffers from the incurable mitochondrial disease. "I just knew that it inspired me through many hard times and that was life-changing for me."
Cairns told Greenawalt about her sister, Lennox, whose 5-year-old daughter, Seattle, also has an incurable and life-threatening disease, transverse myelitis.
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"Lindsay and I joke that we lead parallel lives," Greenawalt said. "She gets what my life is like. And what Savannah's life is like," Greenawalt said. "Leah recognized that right away."
"Both Savannah and Seattle were diagnosed shortly after their first birthdays," she said. "They both have had to undergo intensive therapy to help them walk and talk, something neither of them was expected to be able to do."
After the convention, the three women stayed in touch on a daily basis. This month the "Battlestar Galactica" actress that Greenawalt so admired took the real-life superhero step of, along with friends, creating a GoFundMe page to raise $20,000 for medical care the girls desperately need.
Savannah is in need of a portable oxygen tank while Seattle has an immediate need for a new wheelchair, Greenawalt said.
"Together their medical expenses mount quickly," she added. "Savannah is hospitalized several times a year and Seattle will have upcoming surgeries in her future."
So far the campaign has raised nearly $8,000 for the two families, who will evenly split the total amount raised.
Savannah and Seattle have yet to meet but know that they are being supported together and hope to meet one day.
"They have even gone so far as to pack their bags," Greenawalt said.
Cairns' "Battlestar Galactica" costars have also come to the girls' aid, sharing their story on social media and even corresponding directly with the girls' themselves. The show, which was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, aired from 2004 to 2009.
"Savannah thinks that it is 'awesome' to have some of the folks that our family loves and admires getting behind her and Seattle," Greenawalt said. "My gratitude to everyone involved is bigger than my words could ever be."