McAdoo Woman Leads Awareness Crusade
by Donald R. Serfass
There is currently no cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
It's a disease that affects one in 6,000 children each year and has proven to be the number one genetic killer of children under age 2.
In an effort to call attention to the problem, State Rep. David G. Argall sponsored House Resolution 557, which identifies the week of Nov. 26 to Dec. 2 as SMA Week in Pennsylvania.
Here, Argall presents the resolution to Kim Gallagher, McAdoo. Gallagher's daughter Rhiana died of SMA on November 30, 1998.
It was Rhiana's life and untimely death that prompted the House action after her mother led a one-woman push to draw attention to a killer that is often overlooked.
"Rhiana had SMA. She was born on Nov. 30 and she died on Dec. 4," explained Gallagher, expressing gratitude and surprise that her heartfelt crusade was able to make a difference.
"It really is a mind-blowing experience," she said, referring to other impact that SMA Week will have in providing exposure to the disease for years to come.
"I admire your bravery in how you faced this," Argall said.
Researchers continue to study the disease to find its causes and a means of preventing or even reversing the impact of SMA.