Emily Sasfai's friends started #EmilysEnsemble to lift her spirits before and after surgery.
It has grown to include well-wishes from dozens of Broadway stars, including Kelli O'Hara, Donna Murphy, Jose Llana, Katie Rose Clarke, Leslie Hendrix, Laura Michelle Kelly, Samuel Larsen, Jefferson Mays, Lisa O'Hare, Bryce Pinkham, Catherine Walker, the company of this year's Tony Award-winning Best Musical A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder, cast members from Cabaret, Jersey Boys, Newsies and more.
"We are completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support," Emily's mother, Beth Sasfai, said in a statement. "Emily's little sister set up an Instagram account and is following. My son is following on Facebook. Emily smiles every time she gets a new tweet. #EmilysEnsemble has turned an incredibly painful experience into a very uplifting journey."
On May 15, Sasfai was suffering from a debilitating headache and was rushed to the hospital near her home in Maplewood, NJ. The doctors discovered hemorrhaging in her brain, caused by an Arteriovenous-Malformation (AVM). The bleeding was putting pressure on her optic nerve, which caused a long stretch of blindness and severe pain.
Although Sasfai was unable to participate in the year-end performance at her performing arts studio, her friends tied blue (her favorite color) bandanas around their arms in her honor. The swelling in her brain has gone down enough that doctors can now remove the AVM, and she is undergoing surgery Aug. 1. Her friends at Class Act Performing Arts Studio posted a video to YouTube, asking the Broadway community to send messages of encouragement using #EmilysEnsemble.
Click here to view the messages in #EmilysEnsemble.