Producers of RENT, local Hillsborough teacher working to raise awareness about Marfan Syndrome

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The producers of the musical RENT and a Hillsborough High School math teacher are working to raise money and awareness for a genetic disorder called Marfan Syndrome.

The musical and the Straz Center have joined together to help the Marfan Foundation.

Teacher Liz Funk’s husband died of complications from Marfan, as did the creator of RENT.

“He was not able to live to grow old, to have children and to see everything that would happen,” Funk told News Channel 8.

“I don’t want that to happen to other families. I don’t want someone to have to bury their husband at 32.”

This week, the Straz will donate a portion of the proceeds to the fountain. An awareness table will be set up at all eight performances of RENT this week.

Funk is working to raise awareness about the disease, as many people can have it and do not even know.

One in 5,000 individuals has Marfan Syndrome. Some features of the syndrome are easier to see than others, those features include:

  • Long arms, legs and fingers
  • Tall and thin body type
  • A curved spine;
  • Sunken or protruding chest
  • Flexible joints; flat feet
  • Crowded
  • Unexplained stretch marks on the skin.

Harder to detect signs include heart problems, especially related to the aorta.

Symptoms include sudden collapse of a lung and eye problems, including severe nearsightedness, dislocated lens, detached retina, early glaucoma and early cataracts.

You can purchase tickets to see the musical at the Straz Center by going online. Five dollars per ticket sold using the promo code MARFAN will be donated to the foundation.

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