Governor’s wife joins fight to help family raise $4 million for clinical trial

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DENVER -- Robin Hickenlooper co-chaired a fundraising event at the Governor's Mansion on Monday to raise money to help a Boulder family raise $4 million to start a clinical trial to find a cure for their daughter's deadly disease.

In December, Mila Makovec was diagnosed with Batten disease, a neurodegenerative disease. It's fatal and many children die before they reach their teens.

Her family has started StopBatten.org, with the goal of raising $4 million to start a clinical trial to find a cure for the disease. Five years ago, doctors said there wasn't much hope for people with Batten disease, but now doctors think a cure is on the horizon.

"We want to play our role. We want to help our daughter. We want to help or son if that's what it comes down to and we want to be able to help other families," said Julia Vitarello, Mila's mom.

At Monday's fundraiser, people dined of dishes prepared by local chefs. Hickenlooper addressed the crowd before people watched Mila's story.

"Hearing the heartbreaking story of what it does to your child, there was literally a physical pain in my heart as I heard it. It is so easy to support someone. It is so easy to cheer someone from the sideline so my response was, if there is something we can do to help, we would love to do it," Hickenlooper said.

Donations for the clinical trial that could save Makovec's life and others like her can be made at StopBatten.org.

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