Zombie Walk to raise funds, awareness of CMT

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, September 23, 2015

An event is being held this Saturday in Orange County to raise awareness of a disease experienced by many but known by few.

The first ever “Zombie Walk 4 CMT” will take place at 8 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 26 at Oak Forest Elementary, located at 2400 State Highway 12 in Vidor, to raise funds and awareness of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease.

Pre-registration for the Zombie Walk begins at 8 a.m., Saturday, with the walk beginning at 9 a.m. The event is a 5K walk with a 3K option. More information and registration can be obtained at www.firstgiving.com/CMTA/zombiewalk4cmt.

This event is just one of three in the state of Texas, with the others being in Dallas and El Paso, and one of 37 across the United States this month, according to Angela Beaumont, who is the event organizer, a Vidor resident, and a person diagnosed with the disease.

“This is the first year the organization is doing a nation-wide event, and we’re so excited to have one of those events right here in Southeast Texas,” Beaumont said. “This is something I am very passionate about because I have it, but when your kids have it too, well, it just hits closer to home for more people.”

Charcot-Marie-Tooth is named after the three physicians who were the first to describe it in 1886: Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Marie and Howard Henry Tooth.

CMT is inherited. It is not contagious, nor is it caused by anything in the environment. The most common forms of CMT are passed down from one generation to the next, meaning that it is dominantly inherited. Beaumont knows this first hand as her 20-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son have both been diagnosed with CMT as well.

According to CMTAUSA.org, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, or CMT, is a group of inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nerves, which are the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. There are more than 70 kinds of CMT. Each kind is caused by a different kind of mutation, and more causes are being discovered every year.

CMT is just one kind of neuropathy (also called peripheral neuropathy), meaning simply that the peripheral nerves are damaged. There are many other causes of neuropathy, including the most common cause—diabetes.

CMT affects about 2.8 million people worldwide, of all races and ethnic groups, including 1 in every 2,500 people in the United States.

“Some people with CMT tend to have a little ‘gate’ in their step when they walk,” she said. “And we don’t always have the best balance. For some people, the tendons pull back or draw-up in their hands and even in their feet and causes issues.”

Beaumont is looking forward to Saturday’s event and knows the hard work being done now will create the foundation for events in coming years.

“When we were out looking for sponsors and explaining what this was all about, I would hear the word ‘No’ a lot,” she said. “But some people would surprise us and offer us something to help or ask what they could do.

“Our goal is to do it again next year, and, hopefully, it will be bigger and better,” Beaumont continued. “There are others in Southeast Texas with CMT too. Some have been diagnosed, and some haven’t, even though they know someone in their family has it already. It’s just a matter of bringing awareness to the public and raising funds for research.”