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May 20, 2014

‘Once-in-a-lifetime’

Former OU superstars attend benefit dinner in support of local family

CLAREMORE —

Claremore residents Cheena and Steve Pazzo hosted a dinner Sunday at their home in suppport of local seven-year-old Zip Gordon, who was diagnosed with a rare, debilitating disease known as Fibrodysplashia Ossidicans Progressiva (FOP) three years ago. 
Among those in attendance were former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football coach Barry Switzer, along with former OU players Joe Washington, Billy Sims, Greg Pruitt and Victor Hicks.
Cheena said to share a meal with such wonderful people was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her and her family.
“Coach, Billy, Joe, Greg and Victor went out of their way to support Zip and his family, and it makes a difference in our ability to collectively find a cure for this disease,” she said. 
“It helps us shine a light on this cause in a very meaningful way.”
Sunday’s dinner was purchased by Barry and Tracy Reynolds, Brad and Kristi Mallett and Susan and Brent Dake at the ZipperQ fundraiser in October 2013. The annual fundraiser offers people a way to donate funds to assist in FOP research as scientists work to find a cure for the disease.
Sometimes referred to as “stone man syndrome,” FOP causes bone to form in muscles, tendons and connective tissue — eventually enclosing the patient in a second skeleton. Since his diagnosis in July 2011, Zip’s parents Amy and Jacob Gordon, as well as, family members, friends and the community have organized ZipperQ. In the past two years, the event has helped raise a total of $270,000.
“We love the Gordon family,” Cheena said. “Steve and I have known Jacob since grade school and we’d do anything to help them.”
She said her family appreciates the support from the Reynolds Mallett and Dake families.
“We all live in Claremore and this is very much a community effort. We’re all in this together.”
The third annual ZipperQ event will take place Oct. 4 at the Claremore Expo.
For more information on the fundraiser or to make a donation, visit zipperq.org.

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