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Walmart gives Hunters Hope much to be thankful for

BY: Community Papers of WNY Staff | January 17, 2013

Hunter’s Hope has been awarded $50,000 from the Walmart Foundation’s State of Giving Program. The grant funds a major portion of the Annual Hunter’s Hope Family and Medical Symposium, which brings families affected by Krabbe and other Leukodystrophies together for one week each summer to share, learn and establish lifelong friendships.

The Symposium allows families affected by leukodystrophies the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of these diseases from world-renowned doctors and researchers, enabling them to provide their child with the best care possible. Additionally, families in attendance are able to form relationships with one another and share their struggles with others, who know firsthand the heartache of dealing with these devastating diseases. This past year, the annual Family and Medical Symposium brought together more than 50 medical experts and more than 30 families affected by Leukodystrophies.

“For the last five years, the Walmart Foundation has been a huge supporter of Hunter’s Hope and our annual Symposium,” shared Foundation Co-Founder, Jim Kelly. “The Symposium is the highlight of our year – as parents of children affected by Leukodystrophies, we all need time with other families like ours. To be around kids like Hunter and other parents who know exactly what we’ve gone through is such a blessing to my family. This just wouldn’t be possible without the support of our friends at Walmart.”

The 2012 Symposium was held at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville. Funds provided by the Walmart Foundation assist in covering the cost of meals and lodging for more than 30 families that attend each year. This assists families affected by Leukodystrophies with the ability to attend, regardless of their financial circumstances.

“The Walmart State Giving Council in New York is excited to partner with the Hunter’s Hope Foundation,” shared Jason Klipa, member of the State of Giving Council and Walmart Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations. “The work that Hunter’s Hope is doing to raise awareness around Krabbe and Leukodystrophies and the support they are providing to families impacted by this disease is amazing. We are proud to again be a part of their efforts.”

Leukodystrophies are inherited, progressive disorders that affect the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves, causing the loss of many, if not most, voluntary muscle movement. Children affected by these disorders suffer greatly and in the case of Krabbe Disease, are not expected to live beyond their second year of life.

For this reason, Hunter’s Hope supports advocacy efforts for Expanded and Universal Newborn Screening, family support programs, and research to find improved treatment options and ultimately a cure for Krabbe and other Leukodystrophies. For more information, please visit www.huntershope.org.

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