BULLHEAD CITY — Chiari malformation isn’t a common ailment, either in terms of how many people it afflicts or how many people know what it is.
Conquer Chiari wants to reduce the former and increase the latter.
The Conquer Chiari Walk Across America will stroll through Don Sullivan Memorial Park at Bullhead City’s Rotary Park on Saturday to raise money and awareness for the neurological disorder.
Saturday’s 5K walk is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. with registration at 6:30 a.m. A 2K walk will begin at 9 a.m.
A donation of $25 per walker is suggested and participants are encouraged to sign up online at www.conquerchiari.org.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Chiairi malformations are structural defects in the base of the skull and cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. Normally the cerebellum and parts of the brain stem sit above an opening in the skull that allows the spinal cord to pass through it. When part of the cerebellum extends below the foramen magnum and into the upper spinal canal, it is called a Chiari malformation
Chiari malformations may develop when part of the skull is smaller than normal or misshapen, which forces the cerebellum to be pushed down into the foramen magnum and spinal canal. This causes pressure on the cerebellum and brain stem that may affect functions controlled by these areas and block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid — the clear liquid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord. The CSF also circulates nutrients and chemicals filtered from the blood and removes waste products from the brain.
Chiari malformations occur in a little more than 1 of 1,000 births and currently affect more than 300,000 people in the United States. Chiari malformation affects people of all ages in all races and ethnic backgrounds. It can cause a wide set of symptoms, from severe headaches and neck pain to balance issues, weakness in the legs and arms and respiratory problems.
The C&S Patient Education Foundation, a public charity dedicated to improving the experiences and outcomes of Chiari patients, provides funding for education programs, awareness initiatives and research. The Conquer Chiari website, www.conquerchiari.org, is a comprehensive source of information on Chiari and related topics.
Saturday’s walk in Bullhead City is one of dozens scheduled across the nation. Last year, more than 11,000 people took part in walks at 85 venues, raising more than $500,000. Conquer Chiari officials report that 80 percent of money raised will be used directly to fund research.
For more information on the local event, contact Bebe Fletcher at 760-221-7900 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.