Wake Forest Charity Partners with Alabama’s Sen. Sessions to Raise Awareness for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

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On Thursday, April 19, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will meet with over 250 people participating in a “Parade of Cherubs” in Washington, DC, to raise awareness of a birth defect called congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).  The parade has been organized through CHERUBS, a Wake Forest, NC-based grassroots nonprofit organization started by Dawn Williamson whose son, Shane, died in 1999 at the age of six from CDH complications.  Sen. Sessions got involved in the cause because his two-year old grandson, Jim Beau, is a CDH survivor.

CDH is a birth defect of the diaphragm.  It occurs when the diaphragm fails to form or to close totally and an opening allows abdominal organs into the chest cavity, inhibiting lung growth.  CDH affects approximately one in every 2,500 babies, or about 1,600 babies in the United States each year.  It is as common as cystic fibrosis and spina bifida.  Roughly 50 percent of babies born with CDH do not survive. The cause is still unknown.

“CDH awareness and research is very important and especially to me because my grandson, Jim Beau, was born with CDH in 2009,” said Sessions.  “This is a life threatening birth defect that not many people have heard about. Only 50 percent of the babies survive and that number could and should be higher. Research and awareness are key and we are excited that CHERUBS chose to parade in DC this year.”

Children donned in wings will begin the three-mile walk at 10:00 a.m. at the Lincoln Memorial; they will travel past the Washington Monument and the White House, and conclude at the U.S. Capitol Building.

“We are thrilled to have so many survivors and families affected by CDH as well as the medical community come out to support the cause,” said Dawn Williamson, Wake Forest resident and president and founder of CHERUBS.  “Families from all corners of the country plan to participate in the parade, and
we expect the number to grow as we get closer to the event.”

Several other cities across the U.S. are hosting a cherubs parade on the same day including, Chicago and Peoria, Ill.; Denver; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and St. Louis.  The St. Louis Fetal Treatment Institute, known for conducting in utero procedures on CDH babies, has been an integral part of organizing their local event.  There will also be a national candle lighting in the U.K.

If you would like to show your support, CHERUBS has set up a virtual parade on their Facebook page and through Twitter.  To learn more about CHERUBS and the upcoming parades, please visit www.cdhsupport.org.

Posted by on April 16, 2012. Filed under Family, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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