CEDAR GROVE, NJ- Cedar Grove High School’s Syracuse University Project Advance has decided to donate all proceeds from this year’s Annual Orange Invitational Volleyball Tournament to the Progeria Research Foundation. The Progeria Research Foundation is an organization geared to search for a cure to put an end to the terminal disease of progeria.

Progeria is a very rare disease, yet there is one case that happens to hit very close to home. Zoey Penny, a beautiful, young girl who lives in Verona, New Jersey, was born in September of 2009 and seemed to be perfectly healthy. Yet, after a few weeks, relatives started to notice that something was wrong: the skin on Zoey’s abdomen was rough and abnormal. Like any other concerned family, Zoey’s loved ones wanted to get her all the help that was available.

At eight weeks old, Zoey went to a hospital in Manhattan where her major organs were tested to try and figure out what could possibly be wrong. “No doctor could figure it out,” Zoey’s grandfather stated in an interview, “over the next several months we went to every pediatric doctor on the east coast, only to eventually learn that it was Progeria”.

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Progeria is a fatal disease where the human body prematurely grows at a much faster rate than it is supposed to. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure, yet there is hope.

Zoey and her family have partnered with the Progeria Research Foundation in order to work towards finding a cure. Zoey’s grandfather was very persistent and helpful in doing anything that he possibly could to raise money for his beloved granddaughter, which included setting up fundraisers and organizing events.

Zoey continues to enjoy life by participating in gymnastics with her friends and attending school. Zoey is “neurologically a normal kid, she just has some physical limits that she doesn't seem to notice,” Zoey’s grandfather explained. Zoey likes to play dress up, play with her dolls, and hang out with her friends.

At this time, there are only about one hundred children in the world suffering from this fatal disease. With Zoey being one of them and living so close to home, it was an easy decision for the Orange Invitational proceeds to benefit the Progeria Research Foundation on behalf of Team Zoey. The Orange Invitational is March 22 at 7 p.m. at the Cedar Grove High School gym located at 90 Rugby Road, Cedar Grove.

Tickets are $5 for students and $7 per adults, and can be purchased by emailing cardinale.joseph@cgschools.org.