Please help us find a cure for Chiari

Published 11:59 pm Friday, July 17, 2009

Hi, my name is Sherry Catrett. I have Chiari and several complications related to it. Chiari is a neurological condition in which the cerebellum part of the brain falls or slides down into the spinal canal onto the spinal cord, compressing the cord and other parts of the brain. Numerous complications are caused by this. To date, there is no cure — just “fixes” to the complications or some of the complications, until others occur.

I am a wife, mother, grandmother to eight, friend to many (I hope), a Christian and a fighting survivor of Chiari. I have had four major surgeries in a month and still have numerous complications, but I am determined to continue on, as God has given me, through His will, the strength to get up and go.

I would like for you to meet two more generations of my family who have this terrible condition known as Chiari. Scott, my oldest son, just recently diagnosed, has four children. He is a carpenter by trade and is now unable to work. He loves to play with his children, be with his children as much as possible, and watch his son play sports and his girls swim and play ball. He loves fishing and taking his children fishing and swimming.

Michelle, my daughter, has had at least six major surgeries in the past several years. She is a mother of two boys, a Christian, and loves to watch her boys play in any activity they can and helps in anything she can. She enjoys her friends, fishing and making as many memories as possible. Chiari is taking her sight away more and more every day.

Cameron, Michelle’s oldest son and my oldest grandson, was also just recently diagnosed. He loves sports. Although he must give up football, he can run track and play basketball. He loves to fish, drive and the outdoors, and he is very active in his church and always eager to lend a hand to any one in need.

Then there is Deven, Michelle’s youngest son. He just plain loves life. He has had two major surgeries in the past two years and he is just 11 years old. He is doing great. He continues to go and go, even though he has one bulging disc and two herniated discs at the surgical site in his lower back, and some nerve damage that arose from post-surgery complications. He loves to go to school dances, the outdoors, play Upward basketball and also enjoys fishing, watching wrestling, video games and is active at his church youth group.

We all have Chiari. It did not skip any generation, as my father and grandmother (his mother) appear to also have been struck with it. Chiari is now known to be congenital and strongly believed to have a genetic cause.

Today, we will sponsor a charity fishing tournament: Cam and Deven’s All-Winners Chiari Fishing Tournament at Frank Jackson State Park here in Opp. The registration fee is $15 for one person, and two or more people in a family are $12 per person.

Concessions will be sold all day long, so come hungry and thirsty. Trophies will be awarded at 4 p.m. Final weigh-in is at 3 p.m. Your registration fee is tax-deductible.

Please help us stop this horrible condition in its tracks. We don’t want to count up to seven generations. God bless you.

Sherry Catrett