Climbing for Silas: Fundraisers to help 16-month-old boy with genetic disease
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 20, 2011 | By Pohia Smith
Fewer than 1,000 infants and children are believed to be living in the United States with a life-threatening genetic neuromuscular disorder called SMARD, or spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress.
One of them is 16-month-old Silas Werner of Friendship, the son of John and Lisa Werner, who both are recessive carriers of the SMARD gene. His sister Valentia apparently died of the disease a year before his birth, although the cause was initially given as sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
With SMARD, the patient has extreme respiratory distress because his diaphragm becomes paralyzed. He also has progressive severe body weakness, predominantly in the lower limbs. Silas’ disease now has progressed to most of his body, excluding his face and internal organs.
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