August: Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month
You might not have ever heard of it, but I’m sure you’ve seen it before. Kids and young adults in motorized wheelchairs; you aren’t quiet sure what they have, but they have smiles on their face!
Spinal Muscular Atrophy Disease is a motor neuron disease where the spinal movement neurons are missing a genetic protein. Without this protein, voluntary muscles become weak and atrophy (disintegrate). Muscles used for breathing, swallowing, walking, and moving your head or lifting your arms become weaker over time.
Every year 10,000-25,000 kids and young adults develop SMA; there’s a large variation in numbers due to still borns or adult onset SMA. That’s 1 in 6,000 babies are born with SMA. Of those babies born with the disease, 50% die by their 1st Birthday and 90% won’t make it to their 2nd.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy is the #1 genetic killer of children under 2.
SMA is passed from 2 genetic carriers conceiving a child. If 2 carriers have a baby, there’s a 1 in 4 chance the child will develop SMA. 1 in 40 people unknowingly carry the SMA gene. That means if you’re at a “singles mixer”, there’s a very high chance that if you fall in love it will be with a carrier. This disease does not discriminate. SMA affects all race, gender, age, and location.
There is no cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, but there is HOPE.
Spreading Awareness means more interest, funding, and hopefully a faster cure.
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