October has become a popular month of fundraising for charities across the UK. Recognised campaigns currently running are Stoptober, Go Sober for October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it is certainly a time to loosen your purse strings in the name of a good cause. However, there are charities fundraising for equally important causes that do not get the support and awareness that they deserve. One of those is Shine.
Shine’s #GoYellow Awareness Week runs from the 16th to the 20th of October, and the charity supports people affected by Hydrocephalus and/or Spina Bifida. You may be thinking, what on earth are Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida, and why should I donate? Well let tell me you.
Spina Bifida is a condition whereby the spine does not form properly, and this can cause problems such as paralysis and learning difficulties. There are 3 types of Spina Bifida and around 1 in every 1000 children are born with the condition. This may sound like a small number, but considering that the UK alone has a population of over 60 million, in perspective the number of people effected is significant. Spina Bifida can occur as a hidden form, which is only revealed through scans, however there are 2 visible types, Myelomeningocele and Meningocele. These are diagnosed if a child at birth has an opening in the back, most likely a cyst with fluid from the spinal cord.
A result of Myelomeningocele can be Hydrocephalus, where excess fluid gathers in the brain. However, Hydrocephalus can also manifest on its own, either congenitally (from birth), or acquired throughout your life. This is the kind of Hydrocephalus that I have. Usually, you have a shunt or surgery to drain away the excess fluid, but I have currently had no such thing. At the moment it is unknown whether my Hydrocephalus was manifested or whether I was born with the condition, but ever since 2012 when an MRI scan revealed it, I have developed a lot of anxiety surrounding the diagnosis. This may partially be due to lack of extensive knowledge about the condition, making it all the more important to raise awareness as much as possible.
It is safe to say that both Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus are very severe medical conditions, and yet not a lot of people are aware of their existence. There are no charities in the UK that support the conditions separately; Shine is flying the flag for both and there has never been a more crucial time to support them. With the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Clinic at risk of closure, this week is the opportunity to donate some money, think positively and #GoYellow for Shine and the amazing work that they do. I will certainly be helping Shine’s cause, especially during this Awareness week!
To read more about Shine, or Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, and to donate, visit their website here.
Photo credit: https://www.shinecharity.org.uk/information/awareness-week-2017