Daniel Klaehn, an English instructor at WTAMU, organized the Conquer Chiari Fun Run on Sept. 21. At 9:30 a.m. at Thompson Park, runners and walkers lined the starting line.
“I loved seeing parents running with their kids,” Rashell Mena, junior Civil Engineer major, said.
Small teams were wearing matching shirts supporting friends and family who suffer from Chiari. Other groups and individuals were dressed up as super heroes.
Groups were sent at minute intervals. Along the run there were “challenge stations” that were optional to complete. Each station was approximately every half-mile. Challenges ranged from tossing beanbags through hoops to leading your sidekick through an obstacle course. Upon completing the challenge participants were given purple paper clips. These paper clips could be turned in for prizes after the run.
“These challenges were thought of so my daughter could easily do them,” Klaehn said.
Klaehn’s daughter, Macaiah, was diagnosed with Chiari when she was about two years old. Chiari Malformation is where the cerebellum, or the bottom of the brain, sits on top of the spinal column. Macaiah has undergone several surgeries to help alleviate symptoms of Chiari. Typically Chiari is diagnosed in adults with an average age being 30. Doctors are actively seeking Chiari in children due to rising awareness and technologic advances.
“With advances in technology, it is easier to test for Chiari,” said Jim Gibbs, a medical doctor at WT. “Especially if the signs are there.”