April 09, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- On March 26, 2013, U.S. Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced Senate Resolution 85.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), along with his colleague Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), issued the following statement on March 22nd after the unanimous approval of Senate Resolution 85, designating April 2013 as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Month:
"I am pleased that the Senate has unanimously declared April 2013 as National Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness month. By joining together, we can help raise awareness of this serious birth defect. Early detection, good prenatal care, and awareness are vital for the survival, and healthy future, of the children born with this defect."
On Friday, April 19th, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will meet with families affected by Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia who are participating in a "Parade of Cherubs" in Washington, DC, to raise awareness of the deadly birth defect. Sen. Sessions' three-year old grandson, Jim Beau, is a CDH survivor. In Jim Beau's honor, the Senator's family will take part in the event, and Sen. Sessions is requesting a Congressional Bill for the benefit of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research.
Families will also meet with members of the House of Representatives on April 18th, which will be followed by a reception that evening on Capitol Hill to celebrate the passing of the Resolution in the Senate.
"CDH awareness and research is very important and especially to me because my grandson, Jim Beau, was born with CDH in 2009," said Senator Sessions. "This is a life threatening birth defect that not many people have heard about. Only 50 percent of the babies survive and that number could and should be higher. Research and awareness are key and we are excited that CHERUBS chose to parade in DC this year." said Senator Sessions at last year's event in Washington, DC.
CDH occurs when the diaphragm fails to form or to close totally and the opening allows abdominal organs into the chest cavity, inhibiting lung growth. CDH affects approximately one in every 2,500 babies, or about 1,600 babies in the United States each year. It is as common as cystic fibrosis and spina bifida. Roughly 50 percent of babies born with CDH do not survive. The cause is still unknown.
The parade has been organized through CHERUBS, a North-Carolina based grassroots nonprofit organization started by Dawn Williamson whose son, Shane, died in 1999 at the age of six from CDH complications. Children donned in wings will begin the three-mile walk at 11:00 a.m. at the Lincoln Memorial; they will travel past the Washington Monument and the White House, and conclude at the U.S. Capitol Building.
"We are thrilled to have so many survivors and families affected by CDH as well as the medical community come out to support the cause," said Dawn Williamson, president and founder of CHERUBS. "Not only are we celebrating the passing of this very important Senate Resolution for CDH awareness but our members have been gathering Proclamations from Governors and Mayors around the country as well to help raise awareness on a local level."
Several other cities across the U.S. are also hosting "Parades of CHERUBS" on the same weekend including, New York, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Dallas, Peoria, Portland, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, St. Louis and Philadelphia. In addition to the parades, there will be a CDH Baseball Night with the Las Vegas 51's, a Sky Dive Fundraiser in Shropshire, UK, and both the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and City Hall in Dublin, Ireland, will be lighting up for CDH Awareness. Many families will also be holding fundraisers and awareness events in honor or in memory of their children born with CDH. A virtual Parade of Cherubs has been set up on Facebook and Twitter so people can show their support by uploading photos and videos.
April 19th is recognized as the International Day of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness by families in 60 countries.
Shands for Children at the University of Florida in Gainesville, DHREAMS CDH Genetic Lab at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, the Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Genetic Research Study at Massachusetts General, the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at CHOP have all been integral in raising CDH Awareness this year by sponsoring or assisting with Parades of CHERUBS at their respective hospitals.
If you would like to help spread the word, or to learn more about CHERUBS and the upcoming parades, please visit www.cdhawarenessday.org
CHERUBS is an IRS recognized public 501(c)III non-profit organization founded in 1995 to help families of babies born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia through research, awareness and support services.