Life

Walking for Chiari

By Bradford Times Staff

Mom Jennifer and Mason, 5, polish Grandpa's car, at the BWG Firefighters' charity car wash in Bradford, June 10. Mason has been diagnosed with Chiari Malformation. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

Mom Jennifer and Mason, 5, polish Grandpa's car, at the BWG Firefighters' charity car wash in Bradford, June 10. Mason has been diagnosed with Chiari Malformation. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

Little Mason Donkin, only 5, has been diagnosed with Chiari malformation, a structural condition of the brain that crowds the cerebellum, sometimes pushing it into the upper spinal cord, blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and resulting in neurological and muscle problems.

Chiari affects 1-in-1,000 but is often misdiagnosed; little Mason experienced years of pain and ineffective treatment, before his condition was diagnosed. He is now scheduled to see a surgeon, later this month, to determine the next step - which will involve “decompression” surgery.

To raise awareness and funds for research, Mason’s family is hosting the first Walk for Chiari at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Leisure Centre Saturday. Opening ceremonies take place at 11 a.m. For more information, contact walkforcm@gmail.com.

The Donkin family has received support from Bradford West Gwillimbury firefighters, and from Mason’s school, St. Teresa of Calcutta. The school held a Spirit Week before the end of the school year, and students were asked to donate $1 each day to the cause, to participate in activities that included a Sports Jersey Day, Crazy Hair Day and Pajama Day. The school raised $3,000, which it has donated to the Walk.

Come out Saturday to meet the Donkin family, learn more about Chiari malformation, and help raise funds. There will be face-painting, a kids’ activity centre, and more. Donations can be made to the Canadian Chiari Foundation. Chiari Warrior bracelets are also available for $2 each.

(Note: Bracelets and pledge forms are available at the office of The Bradford Times, 74 John St. West.)