A recent benefit in Carthage helped a 10-year-old girl in a number of ways.

A recent benefit in Carthage helped a 10-year-old girl in a number of ways. Family, friends and other gracious donors contributed 77 sweet dishes for an auction for Megan Dawson, of Mt. Vernon. Together, supporters raised more than $600 to help Megan go on a special trip to New York where she could be with other youth with Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP). This rare skin disease causes allergic reactions to the sun, and most light bulbs. Megan and her family left Sunday to go to a night-time summer camp in New York.
After the benefit on Saturday, Megan was very excited.
“I've always wanted to see the Statue of Liberty,” Megan said. “I want to meet other people like me, see what they go through and I don't have to worry about them staring at my spots because I know they'll have them too.”
That's not the case for Megan's daily life. This fall, she'll be a sixth grader.
“People at school will look at me, ask about my hat or call me 'freckles,'” Megan said. “I want to be called by my name. I want to meet people, and it hurts my feelings when they just stare and don't come over to say 'hi.' I'd be happy to tell them about me and how I'm allergic to the sun – how I was born that way. But I think they would see I'm just like them, only a little special-er.”
Megan was adopted by Dusty and Mandie Dawson at 11 months old in Texas. At the time, she had a couple of spots that were not concerning. It wasn't long before they knew something wasn't right.
“It looked like she had chicken-pocks all the time,” Mandie said.
Megan went through countless medical tests. After watching a television show on mystery diagnosis, Mandie persisted her daughter be tested for EPP. At the age of six, Megan finally had her diagnosis, living with her family in Florida.
“The Sunshine State,” Megan chimed in.
The Dawsons traveled to Missouri, where Megan fell in love with snow and being close to family. On Saturday, she said she was touched by the outpouring of love and support from her family as well as strangers.
One act of kindness stood above others.
“She called it her faith box,” Mandi said of a donor. “She wouldn't tell us her name, phone number, anything – just meeting Megan was enough.”
An anonymous local donor gave Megan $83.
“She said it wasn't a lot but to Mandie and Megan, it was,” said Zandra Freelend, of Carthage, Mandie's mother.
When Megan grows up, she says she wants to be a doctor to find a cure for EPP.
“I want to see what helps others with what I have,” Megan said. “I know I have to pay attention to science and math because I know I'll kind of be like a scientist.”