Couple looks to help children with neurologic disease

August 28, 2013 

Last week, I told you a little about Katie and Josh Holter, a young couple here in Warner Robins whose son, Wyatt, has spinal muscular atrophy -- the No. 1 genetic killer of children younger than 2.

The life expectancy for a child with SMA depends on several factors, but the rule of thumb is that most won’t live to see their second birthday.

According to the SMA foundation, children with SMA have limited movement and cannot sit without support, have labored breathing and have trouble feeding and swallowing. Symptoms emerge within months after birth. There is no treatment, and there is no cure.

But Katie and Josh hope that through the testimony of what God has been doing through Wyatt’s life, something can be done to help other families.

Wyatt’s Wish was formed, and several fundraisers were conducted to help the young couple with the staggering medical bills.

But also it is Katie and Josh’s wish that Wyatt help others as well.

One concern early on for Wyatt was for a mask for when he was being extubated. Katie explained that there were masks for premies and masks for older children but not one that could fit a larger infant. It was suggested by doctors and other families with a child with SMA that the Holters try a specific mask available only in Canada, and the mask was a perfect fit.

There is actually a video on Wyatt’s website that shows a day in the life of Wyatt and how vital this mask is to him and other children with SMA.

As part of Wyatt’s Wish, the Holters want to help other families purchase these masks. They also want to help fund research for SMA. According to the National Institute of Health, SMA is the neurologic disease closest to being cured.

August is SMA awareness month, so here is a little admonishment to all those young couples getting ready to get married and start families: get tested. Talk to your doctor about your risks and ask about the simple blood test that will let you know if you are a carrier.

To learn more about Wyatt, visit his website www.wyattswish4sma.com. Along with the video you can see pictures of this adorable child and read in depth his story and the struggles his family has had to face. There is a link where you can donate to Wyatt’s Wish and help the Holters and other families with SMA with the mask purchases and with funds donated to research.

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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