The Wekarski family, friends and neighbors recently walked together through the borough in an effort to raise awareness about a little-known and rare disease called Chiari, a serious neurological disorder in which the cerebellum, which controls balance and coordination, descends into the spinal canal. Lucas Wekarski, 5, was diagnosed with the condition at age 3-1/2 in May 2012. He underwent surgery the following July.

“Things are looking good,” Dana Wekarski, Lucas’s mom, said of his condition. “He still gets occasional headaches, but otherwise he’s a happy little 5-year-old with the most amazing personality!”

The malformation results in pressure on both the brain and spine, causing symptoms that range from persistent headaches to unsteady walking, slurred speech and blurred vision. The cause is unknown. If left undetected and untreated, it can result in paralysis.

— Rebecca Greene

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