Senior hosts fundraiser walk for CDH

Senior Emily Shaw organized the March for Babies, along with a fundraiser at Shakespeares, set for May 5. She hopes to raise money for CHERUBS, the association of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research., Awareness and Support. Photo by Rachel Kiehne

Senior Emily Shaw organized the March for Babies, along with a fundraiser at Shakespeare’s, set for May 5. She hopes to raise money for CHERUBS, the association of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research., Awareness and Support. Photo by Rachel Kiehne

Fariha Rashid

Senior Emily Shaw organized the March for Babies, along with a fundraiser at Shakespeare's, set for May 5. She hopes to raise money for CHERUBS, the association of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research., Awareness and Support. Photo by Rachel Kiehne
Senior Emily Shaw organized the March for Babies, along with a fundraiser at Shakespeare’s, set for May 5. She hopes to raise money for CHERUBS, the association of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research., Awareness and Support. Photo by Rachel Kiehne

It was Friday, April 19. Senior Emily Shaw had just received disconcerting news. Her sister’s baby, who was at his 20-week ultrasound, had been diagnosed with CDH, or Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, a birth defect she had never heard of before. “Even though CDH is not uncommon,” Shaw said, “I knew that not many others knew of it either.”

Coming to terms with her nephew’s situation prompted Shaw to spread awareness of CDH.

“Suddenly, it was not just a number or a statistic,” Shaw said. “It was very apparent and personal to my family.”

Instead of giving up hope and dwelling on the unfortunate nature of her family’s situation, Shaw realized she could take action and help other families who have members combating CDH.

CDH is a birth defect that occurs in one out of every 2500 births.  It happens when the diaphragm doesn’t fully form, causing the abdominal organs to move into the chest cavity, leaving little to no room for lung development.

“Fifty percent of babies diagnosed with CDH do not survive,” Shaw said, “and those who do, often experience other disabilities such as neurocognitive delays and behavioral disorders.”

In order for more to be done to prevent the birth defect, Shaw began fundraisers as a way to raise awareness of CDH.  On Sunday, May 5 at 1:30 pm, a 2.5 mile walk called March for Babies will take place at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia. Registration will start at 12:30 pm.

“What I am doing is not just for the benefit of my family,” Shaw said, “but for the thousands of family who have been impacted by CDH or other birth defects.”

Similarly, March for Babies is not an event only held in Columbia but is also held in hundreds of other communities throughout the United States, March of Dimes organizes the March for Babies event. The March of Dimes is an organization originally created in the 1930s to combat polio. Since then, March of Dimes has made their focus more broad to include promoting health for pregnant women and babies. March for Babies began in the 1970s and is a fundraising event designed to raise money for research and programs to help prevent premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality.  

This year, Shaw decided to bring March for Babies to Columbia.This Sunday, May 5th,  at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia, a 2.5 mile walk will take place with registration beginning at 12:30 pm and the walk starting at 1:30 pm.

Shaw decided to bring attention to the event by starting a Facebook page and inviting more than 500 of her friends to it. The effect was instantaneous. “People began commenting immediately,” she said, “voicing their support.”

In addition, Shaw is selling blue wristbands for $2 each. The front reads “CDH Awareness” and her nephew’s name, Hudson Smith, on the back. The proceeds will go to Cherubs,” Shaw said, “an organization focused on giving support to those that have been affected by CDH and on conducting research.”

Furthermore, Shakespeare’s Pizza has agreed to hold a fundraiser on Sunday, the day of March for Babies.

“If you bring in a flier, which I have and can give to anyone who is interested,” Shaw said, “Shakespeare’s will donate 15 percent of your purchase to Cherubs.”

Along with buying Shakespeare’s Pizza and bracelets, Shaw believes people should remember the impact of CDH goes beyond Columbia.

“In general, just remember that what has happened to my family,” Shaw said, “happens to many others as well.”

Contact Emily Shaw on Facebook or at (573)-673-8929 if you would like a bracelet, a flier to bring to Shakespeare’s Pizza this Sunday, or have any questions.

By Fariha Rashid