Several Sussex Tech students chose the task of spreading public awareness of Sturge-Weber syndrome for their Leadership Development class because of a 22-month-old little girl from Millsboro named Stella Hastings.
Sturge-Weber syndrome is a congenital disorder that affects the skin, the neurological system, and sometimes the eyes. Few people are familiar with the syndrome that affects about one in every 50,000 live births in the United States. However, many people may have seen patients that have a port wine stain birthmark, usually on the face.
Al DeCesaris, Jr.'s niece, Jenna, is affected with Sturge-Weber syndrome. Al says that he decided to ride a bicycle from ocean to ocean in an effort to bring awareness to the syndrome. Al left the Pacific Ocean in California in early September. On October 22, he stopped by Sussex Technical High School to meet students and Stella.
Al told students during a luncheon in his honor that people thought he was crazy when he decided to ride a bicycle across the country. He admitted that he has never been athletic and bought his bike only three weeks before he left California.
"We all have the power to make a difference in someone's life," Al told the students. "You are making a difference in Stella's life."
The Sussex Tech students will continue to do fundraisers throughout the year. All proceeds will be donated to the Sturge-Weber Foundation.