Six-year-old Drew “Doobee” Hansen would rather sing along to Nickelodeon's “Victoria Justice” than Madonna’s “Material Girl”.
But that didn’t stop the Southold girl from taking a step back into the 80s on Friday.
Donning a blue jean jacket, ruffled mini skirt and her curly hair pulled in a ponytail with a pink scrunchie, she was the center of attention at the Soundview Restaurant in Greenport as hundreds attended a fundraiser in her honor.
Diagnosed at the age of 4, Drew has been battling Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. The disease causes the Southold Elementary School first-grader constant stomach and joint pain and bowel irregularity.
“Doobee is a trooper. She is inspiring,” said her mother Martha Hansen, 35.
The 80s Dance Party for Doobee and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America fundraiser on Friday raised $4,000. The money will go toward Martha Hansen’s half marathon minimum donation fee of $6,000. She is running on June 2 in Virginia with Team Challenge, a half marathon training program that raises money for CCFA.
Drew’s father John Hansen, 41, admits that dealing with his daughter’s disease, for which there is no cure, is challenging.
“It’s hard to see Doobee like this. I want her to be well,” said John Hansen, who co-manages Sunset Motel in Greenport with his wife.
In an effort to diagnose their daughter, Martha Hansen traveled with Drew to the Minnesota Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to seek treatment from the top pediatric gastroenterology specialist. Currently, Drew is under the care of pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. James Markowitz at North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
Cousin Brittany Hansen, of Mattituck, has seen Drew’s suffering firsthand and is thankful for the tremendous support shown at the fundraiser.
“All of this support is wonderful and it brings awareness to Crohn’s disease. I had never heard of the disease until it affected Doobee and it’s important that more people understand how Crohn’s disease can affect a person’s life,” Brittany Hansen said.
Thrilled to participate in a worthy cause, that had hundreds dancing the night away, was Drew’s aunt Rachel Murphy, owner of Soundview Restaurant.
“It’s great to see how this community comes together to support Doobee,” Murphy said. “We all want to see Doobee healthy and happy.”