Megan Killpatrick Directs Fundraiser For Chiari; Raises $25,000
By Ellen Kinsella
Megan Killpatrick, a seventh-grade Severna Park Middle School student, served as the event director for the first-ever local version of Conquer Chiari Walk Across America in Maryland, held at Kinder Park on September 17. Thanks to Megan's hard work - and some help from family, friends, and community members - the walk raised more than $25,000 for the Chiari Foundation. The walk also helped spread awareness of Chiari Malformation, a rare but serious medical condition.
Chiari is a neurological disorder where part of the brain herniates out of the skull, putting pressure on the brain and spine. It affects 300,000 children and adults across the country. Megan was diagnosed with Chiari when she was just seven years old. She also was diagnosed with Syringomyelia and Scoliosis, two serious conditions caused by Chiari. After she was faced with the terrifying and possibly crippling disorder, she endured two brain surgeries and resiliently began to overcome obstacles related to her diagnosis. She remained active in spite of her condition, thanks to excellent medical care, including that of the well-known pediatric neurosurgeon from Johns Hopkins, Dr. Ben Carson.
The local walk was one of 47 total CCWAA walk sites in 32 states. More than 400 people attended, including over 325 walkers along two different courses. Twenty-five Chiari patients were also in attendance, including the Event Director, 12-year-old Megan Killpatrick.
The $25,000 raised by the event far exceeded the original goal of $10,000. In addition to the walk, participants enjoyed a festive event for people of all ages. The crowd included a large group of Megans friends from SPMS, led by Tess Terrific Team manager Tess Constantine. They came to Saturdays event dressed in hand-crafted team t-shirts, bringing almost $1,200 in funds they raised by going door to door in their Shipleys Choice neighborhood.
In addition to hospitality, prizes, and a special celebrity guest appearance by the Chick-Fil-A Cow of Pasadena, the Kids Can Conquer, Too event included an interactive Tae Kwon Do demonstration by Master Curtis Cash of Kick Xplosion of Pasadena. There were also arts and crafts activities, along with active games and a lacrosse skills station hosted by Steve Morgan of Diamondback Lacrosse Club. The Grand Prize Raffle - a weekend with the Baltimore Ravens - was won by the Blumenberg Family of Millersville.
Megans father, Pat Killpatrick, said in his opening remarks at the event, Ive never been good at asking for help from anyone, and this walk has been an amazing journey for us. For the first time, we have expanded our comfort zone and shared Megans story with people other than our family and closest friends. She is a great kid, and we have been overwhelmed by the amount of people who want to support Megan and others like her. Its been an experience that the Killpatricks will never forget.
Megan's parents, Pat and Cheryl Killpatrick, are thankful for the generosity and support of their community and were thrilled to welcome new friends to their circle as they met fellow Chiari families in Maryland. The Killpatricks hope to start planning soon for next year's event, which is already scheduled for September 22, 2012.