Calvin Lokko and I, Dennis Wilson, are biking the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville, TN to Florence, AL May 26th thru the 28th to raise money and awareness for The Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association or CHASA. Also the month of May is pediatric stroke awareness month. We are taking sponsorship donations for each mile we bike from Nashville to Florence. If you would like to sponsor us for this fundraiser please visit this link https://goo.gl/forms/BrkawFCztrQsqg2y1. If you want to donate a fixed amount please use the Donte Now Button.
CHASA (The Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and families affected by pediatric stroke and other causes of hemiplegia. CHASA provides support, education, research, and advocacy through their national family retreat, local family events and seminars, online support group, websites, fact sheets, clinical trials connections, pediatric stroke and hemiplegia research awards, and pediatric stroke awareness campaigns.
My wife, Betsy Wilson is the inspiration for this fundraiser. At six months of age she was diagnosed with a stroke, which had likely happened before birth and in her case it's still unknown why the stroke happened. The stroke injured the left side of Betsy brain and gave reason to the doctors at that time to believe that she would never be able to walk, talk, or be independent in any way. But as a miracle of her own will and the support of her family Betsy was able to do everything most professionals thought was not possible. As she became older she was able to learn how to walk, talk and do most things that children were able to do. Professionals believe because her brain injury occurred so early in her development that the right side of her brain trained itself to perform the functions that her injured side would have normally performed. All of this didn’t come without its own unique challenges. Because of her brain injury she lives with Spastic Cerebral Palsy.
Cerebral Palsy is considered a permanent neurological disorder caused by a non-progressive brain injury or malformation that occurs while the child’s brain is under development. Cerebral Palsy primarily affects body movement and muscle coordination. Though Cerebral Palsy can be defined, having Cerebral Palsy does not define the person that has the condition. Cerebral Palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning.
Eventually during Betsy childhood she began to suffer from chronic seizures due to her brain injury. She also learned through checkups with her physicians that these chronic seizures were going to get worse over time and that eventually she would lose all of the independence she was able to make for herself. This put her and her family on a road to discover a treatment that would be able to insure her independence. She finally found a solution at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, one of their pediatric neurosurgeon introduced to her and her family a procedure that would insure her independence from these chronic seizures. At the age of 19 Betsy decided to undergo brain surgery, because of this procedure she was able to finish college and earn an Associate’s degree, start her own career, able to drive a vehicle, move out and own her own home. She is now 31 years old and is still seizure free.
CHASA became a place where she and her family could find new details and treatments for children that lived with the complications of a brain injury. CHASA’s family retreats gave her a place to network with others that had similar conditions and to make friends that could understand the challenges in her life. This helped her build confidence, not feel alone in the struggles she had to go through and to teach her she isn’t alone in living with these challenges. We want to give back to this organization and help them help others now and in the future to overcome these types of challenges in their life.
I met Betsy later in her life after she had her brain surgery and she has been an inspiration to me that you can accomplish anything you want in life regardless of the obstacles. Each day I wake up being grateful for her being in my life and thankful for all of those that helped her. My hope is that we are able to raise $2000 dollars and give back to those that helped my wife to become the inspiration that she is to me today.
For more information visit http://www.chasa.org