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Organization Helps Michigan Families Dealing With Life-Altering Challenges

(CBS DETROIT) - Fund a life to save a life.

That's the mission Mark Howell is taking on following his own journey to recovery.

The husband and father was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma in 2012 and was given weeks to live.

The community rallied together to raise $200,000 for Howell's life-saving treatment, leading him on the path to paying it forward.

Now his organization Fund A Life is helping families across Michigan dealing with catastrophic events.

"Life is all about perspective so I think its when you have support around you and you have people that are willing to do what they can to help and it cold be something that they perceive as very small but when things are down the smallest things matter most," Howell said.

Katie Gatewood was awarded a $10,000 grant from the organization to make her journey with her daughter Charleigh a little bit easier.

"So for Charleigh her organs, the liver, the intestines, and part of her heart all became part of that sack, so we learned that around nine weeks into my pregnancy," Gatewood said.

The six-month-old was born with an Omphalocele, a rare birth defect that exposes the organs outside the body.

"I only got to see her for about 20 seconds after she was born and she was rushed to emergency surgery where they you know put all of her organs into what they called a silo which was a medical grade bag basically," Gatewood said.

Charleigh is now close to finally reuniting with her family at home.

"The grant came at a very needed and wanted time," Gatewood said.

"It allowed us to have the funds to drive to see her and it actually helped us purchase our very first home. A home that is equipped to be able to house Charleigh and give her the needs that she needs."

Fund A Life is hosting their third annual Drive To Survive fundraiser Sunday to help raise money to support families through life-altering challenges.

"We'll be starting at the Lingenfelter Collection in Brighton, Michigan," Howell said.

"One of the world's biggest private car collections so you won't want to miss that and then we'll take off to M-1. a private track in Pontiac where we will hang out with some music, some food trucks, some yard games, we'll watch cars be raced around the track."

For more information on how to get involved click here.

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