Nearly 80 Registrants Helped Make Event a Rousing Success

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- Thanks in large part to the generosity of numerous community members and local businesses, the tireless efforts of three student organizers and a host of volunteers, and the participation of nearly 80 registrants, Sunday's (Feb. 4) SUNY Orange Walk for Spina Bifida netted $4,300.

The walk was a tremendous success, yielding far more in donations than organizers or College officials anticipated. All of the proceeds of the walk are earmarked for spina bifida research.

The walk, which was held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Galleria at Crystal Run, was the brainchild of student organizers Shilpa Patel (Monroe), Katie Horsham (Port Jervis) and Sarah Marley (Monroe). Both Patel and Horsham are afflicted with spina bifida.

An estimated 70,000 people in the United States are currently living with spina bifida, the most common permanently disabling birth defect. Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that occurs in the first month of pregnancy when the spinal column doesn’t close completely. A herniaiton of the spinal cord protrudes from the spinal column and can lead to paralysis below the area of the herniation.

There are 60 million women at risk of having a baby born with spina bifida. On average, eight babies every day are affected by spina bifidaor a similar birth defect of the brain and spine.Each year, about 3,000 pregnancies are affected by these birth defects.

The effects of spina bifida are different for every person. Up to 90 percent of children with the worst form of spina bifida have hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) and must have surgery to insert a “shunt” that helps drain the fluid—the shunt stays in place for the lifetime of the person. Other conditions include full or partial paralysis, bladder and bowel control difficulties, learning disabilities, depression, latex allergy, and social and sexual issues.

Thanks to new medical treatments and technology, most people born with spina bifida can expect to live a normal life.

The standard treatment of spina bifida has been to perform surgery on the newborn within the first 24 to 48 hours after birth. However, experimental new surgeries, performed in utero after spina bifida has been detected, have increased the chance for fetuses to develop normally.

Among those stores and organizations that stepped forward to support the students’ efforts were Merle Norman Cosmetics (60-minute pamper session), Sweet Feelings Jewelers (cubic zirconium diamond pendent necklace), Gertrude Hawk ($25 gift card), Hallmark ($20 gift card), Family Empowerment Council of Orange/Sullivan County ($200) and Orange Regional Medical Center ($500).

Photos from Sunday's event are below.

Photo: Spina Bifida Walk

Photo: Spina Bifida Walk

Photo: Spina Bifida Walk

Photo: Spina Bifida Walk

Photo: Spina Bifida Walk

Photo: Spina Bifida Walk

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940