Knoxville organizer of Conquer Chiari Walk Across America says God helped him overcome disorder


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Saturday, walkers from across America will walk to raise awareness for Chiari Malformation.

In Knoxville, walkers will meet at Lakeshore Park, located at 6410 S Northshore Drive. In 2015, the event was held at 85 locations, involved nearly 13,000 participants and raised over $640,000 to help Chiari patients through education, awareness and research.

Chiari Malformation is a serious neurological disorder where the bottom part of the brain, the cerebellum, descends out of the skull and crowds the spinal cord, putting pressure on both the brain and spine and causing many symptoms. It can strike children and adults and cause crippling headaches, neck pain, balance problems, trouble breathing, numbness and weakness in the limbs, and a host of other problems.

Organizers of the Knoxville walk said to date there has been very little research on Chiari and fundamental questions regarding its underlying cause, diagnosis, and treatment remain unanswered. It is estimated that Chiari affects over 300,000 people in the US.

Frankie Rush, one of the organizer’s of the Tennessee walk, said he was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation four years ago. He said he was driving to work, thought he had a stroke, drove straight to the hospital and found out he had Chiari.

“I had the surgery, because of complication of Chiari I lost control of my whole body. My wife was told by some of the doctors to bring me home and put me in a nursing home, because I would not get better. She and my sister fought to have me sent to Patricia Neal in Knoxville,” said Rush. “It took me 6 months of intense therapy to learn again like a baby learns. Today, I still have issues and symptoms which will never go away but with the grace of God I push on to conquer it.”

For more information visit the Conquer Chiari website.

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