With just one month until the “Lights! Camera! Research!” fundraiser to benefit the Smith-Magenis Syndrome Research Foundation (SMSRF), the Iannuzzi family of Wilton is getting more excited about the prospect of raising awareness about Smith-Magenis Syndrome, the very rare condition that their daughter, Sydney, has.

For the first year, Sydney’s mom, Jennifer is organizing the “Lights, Camera, Research!” fundraiser on June 18 (9 a.m.-noon). The benefit is being held at Ridgefield’s Prospector Theater, and attendees will get to see a first-run showing of the Disney Pixar movie Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo and starring Ellen Degeneres, on the weekend the movie gets released. There will also be a video game tournament, prizes, a silent auction, face painting, and more surprises. It’s an event that promises to be fun for the whole family, with tickets at $30 for adults and $20 for children.

Not only can people purchase tickets online, but Wilton residents will have a chance to buy them in person and meet Jennifer, along with Sydney’s brother, Cole, at a bake sale they’re holding in front of the Village Market today, Monday, May 16, starting at 3:30 p.m.. They’ll be selling tickets to the June 18 fundraiser as well as Jennifer’s famous chocolate chip cookies and more yummy goods.

Jennifer's amazing homemade cookies
Jennifer’s amazing homemade cookies
Jennifer’s amazing homemade cookies

Something else that is making the Iannuzzi family happy is how the community is getting behind the “Lights, Camera, Research!” effort. Not only is there a growing committee of friends and Wilton residents helping to organize the event, but there are sponsors signing up (including GOOD Morning Wilton as media sponsor). The complete list of additional sponsors includes:  Marathon Trading, Giant Steps School, C Design CT, Renaissance Beauty, Elevation Spin, Lisa Bunce Back to Basics Nutrition Counseling, Reynolds & Rowella Accounting and Consulting, and Crown LP Gas.

Jennifer says that she’s been touched by how much the business community has been supportive as well, as donated auction items are starting to come in—even though she knows how hard local Wilton businesses work to stay in business.

“Each and every one of them is struggling to survive. Shops are closing left and right. Our tiny town has a lot of charm, warmth, and good natured people. Everyone is supporting a cause or a movement that is near and dear to their hearts. It is so nice to see this kind of support in such a small community but it does put a lot of pressure on already struggling businesses—yet these businesses did whatever they could to support me,” she says. “It is wonderful when your friends and family support your efforts but it is heartwarming when your town rallies around you too.”

One such supportive Wilton-owned business that has wide national appeal is HooplaHa.com, a website with a mission of spreading good news. They recently shot and released an amazing video (below) about the Iannuzzi family and how Jennifer started the SMSRF with another Smith-Magenis parent. Heading into the month before the fundraiser, the video helps show just how incredible Sydney, her parents and her brothers are, and why it can make such a huge difference to lend support to the fundraiser, either by buying tickets, making a donation or sponsoring.

“SMS is not easy and its not pretty. SMS is the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life and will likely continue to be one off the most challenging aspects of my life for the rest of my life,” Jennifer explains. “But what the video focused on, which I am so grateful for, is that with great despair comes an unstoppable sense of hope. SMS has taught me to be a hopeful person, it has taught our family the true meaning of resilience, and it has taught my friends and family what real support is all about.”

The Iannuzzi family will be in front of the Village Market today, Monday, May 16 starting at 3:30 p.m.. For more information about the Lights, Camera, Research! fundraiser, or to get in touch about donating or sponsoring, visit the event webpage

video courtesy HooplaHa.com