Coming up on October 6, at McCollum Park (6801 S. Main Street) in Downers Grove, IL, a 1.2-mile Walk-Run-N-Roll event will be held to raise funds and awareness for the Transverse Myelitis Association (TMA). Anyone of any age can join this fun event to walk, run, or roll the distance in their wheelchairs.
TMA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to serve those who are affected by neuro-immune diseases, like Transverse Myelitis (TM), Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO), Optic Neuritis (ON), to name just a few.
Neuro-immune diseases can happen to anyone, affecting both children and adults at any age and causing disability or even paralysis.
Drew’s Story of Living with Transverse Myelitis
180 Medical helps sponsor this event, as some of our own customers are affected by neuro-immune diseases, one of whom will be participating in this year’s Walk-Run-N-Roll event for the very first time. And this is his story, written by his caring mother Liz:
This is our son Andrew (Drew), who was a perfectly healthy 15-month-old before the picture on the right was taken. Unfortunately, he had complications with vaccines, an ear infection, a cough, and an insistent pediatrician. Days after, he fell to the ground crying, unable to stand, or sit up to eat. We were unaware his spinal cord was inflamed, causing paralysis from the waist down).
After a week in two different hospitals confirming the same diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis, we were left with this rare immuno-neurological disorder and all its side effects (incomplete paralysis, limited mobility, neurogenic bowel and bladder, autonomic dysreflexia, and more). Our baby was suddenly fighting to move, urinate, or have bowel movements on his own. We were all changed forever.
After hundreds of hours of therapies, hospital stays, and specialist appointments, 5 years have passed, and we’ve all managed to grow stronger and learn more than we could have ever imagined! Drew has continued to face challenges head-on and perseveres with his beaming smile and a twinkle in his eye. He endures his limited mobility with the help of braces, forearm crutches, and a walker (a wheelchair for long days) but longs to be “normal” most days. Luckily, he has found supportive friends, continued encouragement from family, and his special abilities in wheelchair basketball, drawing, and archery.
We have always felt grateful that we have Drew and his courageous spirit as it could have been so much worse if there were breathing, full paralysis, or cognitive issues involved. Through our wonderful circles of support, we have done a few small fundraisers to help the Transverse Myelitis Association as they initially were our main support in this very rare condition to help us navigate through the medical, insurance, specialists needed at such a traumatic time. Now we would like to continue to show our support to Drew and his daily challenges, raise awareness of this lifelong disabling disorder and raise funds for the TMA to support research for a cure of TM and other rare immuno-neurological disorders.
About the Transverse Myelitis Association
The Transverse Myelitis Association (TMA) is a not-for-profit dedicated to the support of children, adolescents, and adults with a spectrum of rare neuro-immune disorders including Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO), Optic Neuritis (ON), and Transverse Myelitis (TM).
The goals of the TMA are to support and advocate for individuals and their families through educational programs and outreach opportunities including annual family camps for children; to build a comprehensive network of medical professionals dedicated to the care of patients through Fellowships, and to support research to further the understanding of the causes of TM, ADEM, ON and NMO, and develop new acute and regenerative therapies.