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SMA is a genetic disease that affects the most vulnerable of our population—our children. But a group of talented photographers around the Birmingham, AL area have teamed up with Stop SMA, a Mississippi-based non-profit, to fight against this cruel disease. Sign up for your very own 20-minute mini session at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and you will be giving $350 to Stop SMA. If you can't make it, we'd love for you to make a donation to Stop SMA or help spread the word by buying a Stop SMA t-shirt.
Stop SMA is a non-profit that funds leading research for a cure for spinal muscular atrophy.
If you're unable to sign up for one of our mini sessions but would still like to help Stop SMA in finding a cure for SMA, consider making a donation or buying your very own Stop SMA t-shirt. SMA type I, also known as severe infantile SMA or Werdnig Hoffmann disease, is the most aggressive form, and manifests in the first year of life. There is currently no treatment and no cure, but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) selected SMA as the disease closest to treatment of more than 600 neurological disorders. Currently there is a simple blood test that couples can get to see if they are a carriers for SMA. Kristen Smith, 23, cares for her 9-month-old son Connor, who is diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1, on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 in her and her husband Dustin's home in Marcellus. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare genetic disorder that affects the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control, and swallowing.
Approximately 1 in 6,000 babies born are affected and about 1 in 40 people are genetic carriers.

Although SMA affects muscles throughout the body the shoulders, hips, and back are most severely affected.
It weakens the muscles, making it difficult or, in most cases, impossible for a child with SMA to move around and do routine physical tasks like getting dressed. Weaker muscles not only affect ones ability to walk, but to breath and pump blood through the body. When you purchase a mini photo session with one of these amazing photographers, your purchase goes directly to Stop SMA to fund research for SMA and for building support for the cause (in order to fund even more research).
Not all doctors will automatically perform this simple blood test when a woman becomes pregnant but you can request it. It refers to a group of diseases that affect the motor neurons of the spinal cord and brain stem.
There’s generally weakness in the legs that will lead to limited or no walking ability as well as activities such as feeding and swallowing are affected. With this type of SMA the child will be able to sit unsupported and may even stand at some point, but will require assistance to walk.
The counselor can help you to better understand the risks and chances of having an affected child. It can be diagnosed through a blood test, so if you suspected of your child of having SMA, consult your pediatrician or family physician for more information. People with SMA may be able to stand when they are very young, but few ever possess the ability to walk. To a person with SMA, a simple cold is a dangerous threat that, if ignored, can easily and quickly become a case of pneumonia.

But now in 2011 some of the very first clinical trials are beginning to get off the ground. Each of the subtypes is based on the severity of the disorder and the age at which symptoms begin. If such a situation should occur, then there’s a 25% chance that the child will be born with SMA. SMA patients may not be able to breathe properly and have an increased tendency for pneumonia and other lung problems.
Swallowing, breathing is affected and the child may have a smaller chest due to the weakening of the intercostal muscles (the muscles between the ribs) that help the chest expand. Breathing problems, scoliosis, and decreased bone density are all characteristic of this type of SMA. Type III individuals can sometimes lose their ability to walk later in childhood, adolescence or even adulthood. You will get 10-15 high quality digital images from your session as well as a warm fuzzy feeling for helping to find a cure for SMA. It is a terminal, degenerative disease, that takes away a child’s ability to walk, stand, sit, eat, breathe and even swallow.
It is usually inherited as an autosomal recessive trait (a person must get the defective gene from both parents to be affected).

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