“The pin that I’m wearing is in honor of Charlotte and Gwenyth Gray – two little girls who have been diagnosed with Batten disease,” the 32-year-old actress explained.
Hathaway was an early supporter of Hollywood producer Gordon Gray and his wife Kristen‘s efforts to raise money to fund research for a cure for the extremely rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder. The couple started a foundation to raise the $10 million dollars needed to fund research after both of their young daughters, 4, and Gwenyth, 2, were diagnosed with late-infantile-NCL Batten disease in March. Batten disease is rapidly progressing and causes developmental regression, blindness, changes in behavior, seizures and dementia.
Since the foundation’s launch in June, the couple has raised $ 2 million dollars – bringing them just half way to the amount needed to launch a clinical trial.
“If you have a dollar to spare please please please [donate] – these two little girls’ lives depend on it,” Hathaway added. “The life expectancy for children with batten disease is between 6 and 12 and Charlotte’s already 4 so time is of the essence.”
The Hollywood community has rallied around the cause on social media and at events around the United States.
“The story to me was an unthinkable horror for a new mom,” Jenna Dewan-Tatum told PEOPLE at a benefit in June. “I can’t imagine what they’re going through as parents. I want to do whatever I could to help, and I know that awareness is a huge part of raising the money that they need.”
“We are so grateful to Anne for her support,” Gordon Gray tells PEOPLE. “This is a race against time and we hope that others will be inspired to help.”
Visit curebatten.org to learn more.