Three years ago Kate Wilber decided to fight her father’s disease in her own way by starting a 5K race and fundraiser to raise awareness and money for the illness ailing George Wicks – hydrocephalus.
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. This disease is something Wicks has suffered from since before his 1980s diagnosis. There’s no cure for hydrocephalus but treatments include a shunt that goes on the brain. In the 34 years since his diagnosis, Wicks has had 95 surgeries.
Wilber is in the midst of planning the 3rd Annual Hydrocephalus Association Walk, which will be on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Smyrna High School.
Last year, 193 people participated in the 5K while helping to raise $13,000 for the Hydrocephalus Association.
“We had a really good turnout,” Wilber said. “It was beautiful weather and everybody had a great time.”
The goal this year is to raise $18,000. Around 200 people are expected to participate.
Wilber said this year the group has already exceeded the amount raised by this time last year so they are hopeful this year’s event will be a huge success.
“This year we have a lot of exposure within the community to get the word out about the walk thanks to the schools and also the local businesses that have been very helpful,” she said.
The team has had a great response from the community. This year there are eight local corporate sponsors including Sayer’s Jewelry, Willis Chevrolet, Anytime Fitness, Smyrna Diner, Fearn Clendaniel Architects, Faries Funeral Home, Ancient Stone Granite Countertops, and Pratt Insurance. Wilber said there are even four national sponsors for the event – Aesculap, Codman Neuro, Medtronic, and Sophysa; all are hydrocephalus shunt companies.
This year’s 5K will include a run/walk, a DJ with music and announcements, family/teams t-shirt contest, and an exercise warm-up before the event lead by Anytime Fitness. A professional photographer will take pictures of the event and family teams. An information table will be set up with resources to help families dealing with the condition. There will also be activities in the kid’s tent including face painting, food and drinks.
All of this is being done so Wilber and her family can find a way to help Wicks, who continues to suffer from hydrocephalus.
“He has had a pretty rough year, but he is tough and still has faith that they will find a cure,” Wilber said.