November is the heart of social season and a time to say thanks and give back. Give us a moment to tell you about The Cure: SMA Foundation and the wonderful work they do for the families affected by this disease. SMA (spinal muscular atrophy) is a disease that robs people of physical strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, taking away the ability to walk, eat, or breathe. It is the number one genetic cause of death for infants.
SMA is caused by a mutation in the survival motor neuron gene 1 (SMN1). In a healthy person, this gene produces a protein that is critical to the function of the nerves that control our muscles. Without it, those nerve cells cannot properly function and eventually die, leading to debilitating and often fatal muscle weakness.
SMA affects approximately 1 in 10,000 babies, and about 1 in every 50 Americans is a genetic carrier. SMA can affect any race or gender. Individuals with SMA have difficulty performing the basic functions of life, like breathing and swallowing. However, SMA does not affect a person’s ability to think, learn, and build relationships with others.
Unfortunately there are currently no approved treatments for SMA, but there is great reason for hope. We know what causes SMA and what needs to be done to develop effective therapies, and doctor’s are on the verge of major breakthroughs that will strengthen children’s bodies, extend life, and eventually lead to a cure. However, without the help of people just like you nothing can be done.
On Thursday, November 12th, the fifth annual Gala of Hope was held at Ferrari-Maserati of Fort Lauderdale among various sponsors. The annual event is hosted by two mothers of children with SMA, Fiorenna Fuentes Israel and Jennifer Miller Smith to benefit the organization and raise funds for SMA. It is a wonderful event that raised close to $200,000. It is $90,000 more than last year which will go to help find a cure for this disease.
There are currently 5 drugs in clinical trials, 2 which are ready for human trials. So let’s do our part in spreading the word and donating anything possible for this incredible cause.
Please visit Events.curesma.org/5thgalaofhopesfl for more information.
Photos by: Robert Swinson and Angel Rivera