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Student plans fundraising walk
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Tammy Hammonds’s daughter is the chair for a committee that worked all year to organize fundraising events to bring awareness to a rare but serious disease the needs a brighter spotlight. And Tammy Hammonds’s daughter is only 16.

The mother and daughter duo are putting together the second Annual Walk and Roll for GBS/CIDP Oct. 12 to raise money to help support those living with the disease. The one-mile walk will be from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on the track at Agnes Scott College in Decatur after being on the Covington Square its first year.

GBS/CIDP Foundation International, the organization supporting the Walk and Roll, was created to support families living with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) and Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), the chronic form of GBS, a rare autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s cells to attack the myelin – insulation around individual nerve fibers. Symptoms include tingling and muscle weakness and, potentially, paralysis. There is still no known cause.

“She just has a passion for it. She wants to make awareness for it, because a lot of people don’t know about it,” Hammonds said of her daughter, Kimby Wragg.

Wragg, a student in the academy of liberal arts program at Newton High School, knows someone who has GBS, Hammonds said, which led to her interest to start the Walk and Roll last year. In its first year, about 20-30 people attended, and they are expecting about 50 in its sophomore attempt.

She headed the committee to organize the event, meeting once a month in Decatur to talk about plans. Her goal, Hammonds said, is to raise $1,000 from her team, but some corporate teams are setting sights on as much as $10,000. Registration costs $10 per person, and participants build teams of five people who combine efforts to raise money.

Money secured by the Walk and Roll will help the foundation to achieve its vision that every person afflicted with GBS, CIDP and related syndromes has “convenient access to early and accurate diagnosis, appropriate and affordable treatments and dependable support services.”

Although there is no specific cause, about 50 percent of cases occur shortly after a viral or bacterial infection, which can be as simple as getting the flu or food poisoning. Early stages of the disease are unpredictable, so most newly diagnosed patients are hospitalized and admitted to ICU (intensive care), according to GBS/CIDP Foundation International.

Most patients recover, although they can suffer lasting symptoms like muscle weakness, fatigue and pain.