SPOTSWOOD, NJ - At the Monday, April 6 Borough Council meeting, Spotswood Mayor Ed Seely proclaimed Sunday, April 19 to be Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day as well as Asher Garcia Day. Asher Garcia is the grandson of Spotswood resident and former borough council candidate Marylin Israel.
Garcia was diagnosed with the birth defect that causes a hole in a developing infant's diaphragm. The hole allows the baby's organs to crowd the abdomen and ultimately impacts the child's lung development. CDH affects more than 1,600 infants born in the United States according to information from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The baby spent five months in the NICU before being able to come home.
Israel partnered with the Spotswood Police Department earlier this year to organize a walk to raise awareness about the birth defect on April 18. The walk was forced to be postponed due to the current coronavirus crisis impacting New Jersey and the globe. Seely encouraged all residents to wear white, pink, blue or yellow on April 19 to spotlight Garcia's battle in his proclamation.
These colors are represented in the ribbon designed for CDH awareness. Pink and blue are the signature colors for birth defects while yellow signifies the babies fighting for survival. White is to honor those infants who lost their battle with CDH. According to statistics, 50 percent of babies born with the birth defect do not survive.
The Spotswood PTA is also asking residents to support Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day on Sunday, April 19.
Funds from the April 18 CDH Awareness Walk were supposed to go to support the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in their fight to help infants impacted by the birth defect. A GoFundMe page was set up by Israel in addition to the now postponed walk. To date, the page has raised $2,420. Israel's goal was to raise $5,000 for the hospital.
Israel hopes residents will don the CDH awareness colors on April 19 to help support her family's "little warrior." She encourages residents to post pictures and videos on social media using the hashtag #wesupportasher.