By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
If Craig Eaton’s name is in the news, it’s usually because of his role as Brooklyn’s Republican Party chairman. But Eaton is also a husband and a father whose family has endured a great deal of pain and has triumphed over adversity for nearly two decades.
Eaton’s son Vincent, 18, a freshman at Villanova University, suffers from multiple hereditary exostoses (MHE), a rare bone disease in which multiple lumps develop on a child’s bones, stunting growth. Vincent, who was diagnosed with MHE at the tender age of seven months, has undergone 29 operations throughout his young life to correct abnormalities, according to his mother, Susan Eaton. In one procedure, Vincent had to have a device known as an external fixator surgically placed on his left arm to help lengthen the arm.
To raise awareness of MHE, which Eaton has called “an orphan disease” due to the lack of knowledge of it among the general public, Craig and Susan Eaton have sponsored fundraisers on a bi-annual basis to generate money for research into a cure or at least less invasive treatments of the illness. The most recent fundraiser took place in 2011.
The Eatons, who live in Bay Ridge, will once again host a fundraiser, called the “Funtasia Research Banquet,” on Sunday, Sept. 22, at the El Caribe Country Club in Mill Basin from noon to 4:30 p.m. The event will feature music, dancing, food, and prizes. All of the proceeds from the banquet will be donated to the MHE Research Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates for treatment options for those with the disease.
“Over the past two years, the MHE Research Foundation has been working with many researchers and doctors to further our research and awareness of MHE, a rare bone disease that our son Vincent was born with,” a statement from Craig and Susan Eaton reads.
“Our family, along with the MHE Research Foundation and their families, is committed to helping Vincent and all the other children who must endure surgery after surgery. We will find a cure or treatment some day soon,” the Eatons stated.
The couple has two other children, Chris and Danielle, who do not have the disease.
Three years ago, the family was hit with more bad news. Vincent was discovered to have a malignant bone tumor. However, he has since undergone three operations and is able to live a normal life.
The courageous young man plans to become an orthopedic surgeon, his mother said.
For more information on the Funtasia, call Susan Eaton at 917-848-7774 or email mhefuntasia@gmail com.