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Westfield mom walks to raise awareness about SMA in honor of her 8-year-old son living with the disease

SMA Walk
Posted at 11:12 PM, Aug 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-05 23:12:00-04

WESTFIELD — A Westfield mom is making a difference, not only in her son’s life, but tons of others too, by walking for a cause.

Adrienne Vollmer’s son, Graham, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) when he was an infant.

SMA is a rare, progressive neuromuscular disease that affects the cells in a person’s spinal cord, as well as the muscles used for breathing, walking and eating. There is no cure for the disease.

SMA Walk

Adrienne created the Cure SMA Walk for Graham as a way to honor him and celebrate his second birthday.

Now, seven years later, it has turned into a fundraiser to raise awareness of the disease and money for SMA research. The walk also includes a silent auction.

SMA Walk

“Our first year, we had about 450 people come out and we raised around $67,000, which was incredible. Last year, we had about 850 participants and raised $169,000,” Adrienne said.

Adrienne says this year they have over 1,000 participants and before the event even started, they had already raised almost $150,000.

She says the money raised goes to Cure SMA, a national organization that funds SMA research and clinical trials.

“When Graham was first diagnosed, there was no treatment. Now there’s three FDA approved drugs. The research that’s happening is incredible, so funding that is really important,” Adrienne said.

In Indiana, there are more than 130,000 carriers for the genetic disease. In 2019, Indiana became one of the first states to screen all newborns for SMA.

To donate to SMA’s Walk for Graham, click here.