Smyrna will host the 2013 Hydrocephalus Walk at Smyrna High School on Saturday, Sept. 21.
The inaugural Delaware walk was also held at SHS last year; the fundraiser was inspired by Smyrna resident George Wicks who suffers from the illness.
Hydrocephalus is a chronic neurological condition where there's an abnormal accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid in the brain, which results in increased pressure on the brain. Wicks was diagnosed in 1980 when he was told the condition was more than likely caused by the first of his three concussions.
Last year, his daughter – Kate Wilber – and the rest of the Wicks family decided to fight for George the best way they can: by raising money and awareness about the condition. George's wife Debbie said for years there's been little to learn about the condition but recent issues with concussions in sports and head injuries in the military are helping to bring the ailment to light.
The 2012 walk exceeded the $15,000 goal with $17,234 raised.
"We had a wonderful turnout with great weather, a lot of walkers, and everyone had a lot of fun," Wilber said.
Wilber expects about 250 walkers to be involved this year; the goal is the raise $25,000. So far the group has raised roughly $5,100. They can continue to raise money four weeks after the event.
On Sept. 21, check-in begins at 9 a.m. Opening ceremonies will be at 9:40 a.m. with the walk beginning at 10 a.m. Throughout the morning and early afternoon there will be various activities including a t-shirt contest, face painting, and kids' activities. The walk goes along the bike path that outlines Smyrna High School and Smyrna Middle School.
"We also have a lot of people forming teams to walk in honor of their loved ones suffering with hydrocephalus, and some local schools and businesses forming teams for the walk to show their support," Wilber said.
Debbie said the response thus far has been wonderful, particularly from the Smyrna School District family. She said the event also drew participants from other towns throughout Delaware.
"It's really a family event for all different ages to come out to support George and the Hydrocephalus Association," Wicks said "It's nice to see and it is a beautiful site to walk around on the bike path."
Proceeds from the event go to the Hydrocephalus Association for research. At this point in time there's no cure for hydrocephalus. One of the treatments includes placing a shunt on the brain. Wilber said her father recently had his 90th surgery and is in pain every day but hopes for a cure. Debbie said despite his condition, George has continued to work over the years. The two even have a testimony explaining how they as a family have gotten through this situation.
"We hope to inspire others through the difficult issues they have," Wicks said. "It's the one way we can try and make a positive thing come from something so difficult."
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