Locals raise awareness for spinal muscular atrophy


It’s a disease with no cure, that often kills youths years before their time.

Locally, Purk family members are smashing SMA to raise awareness and funds for the cause.

SMA is Spinal Muscular Atrophy. The genetic disease affects the motor neuron cells in the spinal cord, impacting the ability to walk, eat or breathe. It is the number one genetic cause of death for infants, according to curesma.org. Margaret Purk, a former Urbana resident, now age 27, is living with SMA. She is a Wright State University graduate, according to family member Shelby Purk. Margaret was diagnosed with SMA when she was 9 months old; her sister, Emma, was diagnosed with it at 3 months old and died at age 3.

The family will raise awareness of the disease by throwing a “#SMAshSMA party” at a relative’s home at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (today). The parties are similar to the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Ice Bucket challenge seen around the world last year. Television host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, of Jimmy Kimmel Live, took part in his own #SMAshSMA event earlier this month. The idea is to write SMA on an object you would like to smash, tell the viewer why you want to smash SMA (for a relative, family member or another person), smash the object that now represents SMA, then name three people to make their own videos and donate to the cause.

For more information about the SMashSMA campaign, visit facebook.com/events/949529778398268/, or curesma.org for donations.