Fund a Fighter announced Tuesday that UFC welterweight standout Dan Miller has joined the FAF family, and that it will be waiving its fees for life for all fundraisers the company hosts to aid with his son Danny Miller's ongoing medical and prescription costs.
Danny, 2, was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) shortly after he was born and has been undergoing dialysis treatments several times per week ever since.
In addition to regular trips to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for treatment, the youngster - dubbed “the toughest Miller” by his uncle, UFC lightweight contender Jim Miller - takes several medications on a daily basis to lessen the effects of his disease.
According to Dan, he and his wife Kristin are hopeful that they can schedule a long-awaited kidney transplant for their son before the winter.
“I’m hoping the operation happens [by the fall]. We’re still in the planning stages and are coordinating schedules and doing tests, but I think it will happen soon. I just want him to be happy and healthy and the operation will do wonders for him.
“The kidneys do a lot more than just filter the blood. They produce hormones and regulate vitamins and minerals in the body among other things. When he has a normal kidney, it’s going to make him a completely different kid.”
FAF co-founder and Tristar owner and head trainer Firas Zahabi says that the Millers situation prompted the company to reach out with the offer to help alleviate some of the financial burden the family is facing.
“We’re very excited to have Dan Miller join Fund a Fighter,” Zahabi said Tuesday. “His cause is of the utmost importance.”
Robbie Stein, who along with business partner Greg Hoffman makes up the remainder of the growing fighter fundraising hub's ownership group, echoed Zahabi’s sentiments.
“When we began discussing who we would like to work with next after achieving our proof of concept with our first two fighters, Joey Gambino and Chuck O’Neil, we unanimously agreed that, given their situation, the Millers would be a perfect fit and could stand to benefit the most from our crowdfunding platform," Stein explained.
"We’re big fans of the Miller brothers and we’re very happy that we can repay the family, if only in this small way, for the hours of entertainment they have provided us over the years. I'm a father myself and I can only imagine how it feels to be faced with this immense financial challenge that Dan and Kristin have been tackling.
“Hopefully we can help alleviate some of that stress and contribute to improving Danny's quality of life.”
In addition to forgoing its fees, Stein made the first pledge to Miller’s inaugural campaign on behalf of Fund a Fighter, to the tune of $500.
Although he will need to be on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life, this necessary operation will allow Danny to lead a more normal life without the need for constant medical care.
Last year the mixed martial arts community came together to raise money to help offset Danny’s treatment and $10,000 per month in prescription costs the Miller's are faced with – a gesture that demonstrated just how close-knit MMA fans, fighters and media truly are.
“It was definitely overwhelming for us to get the support we did from the MMA community. My wife and I were in awe of the love and support ,” an emotional Miller recalls. “It felt fantastic to know that so many people who had never even met us cared so much about Danny and our family and gave up what they could to help us. We’ll never forget what people did for us.”
The target amount for the campaign, which runs from today to October 14, is $3000. Depending on the dollar amount that they pledge, fans who contribute to the project will receive various sizes of incentives and rewards ranging from a thank you on the FAF website, to autographed collectibles like Miller’s official UFC 152 fight banner.