Stella Bennett, 5, looks to her cousin Dean Bennett, 8, of Arizona, during her arrival to the second annual Purple Pumpkin Gala. Photo by Doug Finger

The annual Purple Pumpkin Gala at Founders Park was held Saturday, Oct. 6 in Islamorada. The gala raises money to fight Rett Syndrome and is organized by Michelle and Travis Bennett for their daughter Stella, 5, who was diagnosed with Rett when she was two. According to Rett Syndrome.org, Rett is a rare postnatal neurological disorder that affects learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion. It occurs mostly in girls in one of every 10,000 female births. Boys can be affected too although it’s very rare.

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