PARKLAND, FL- Lara and Chad Rustici never thought they'd be involved with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. CMT, as Charcot-Marie-Tooth is known, is a rare disorder in which the motor and/or peripheral nerves are affected, resulting in muscle weakness and atrophy along with sensory loss. The Rustici's have three children, and they had no idea what was affecting their firstborn child, Mason. Mason, who turns 8 in November, wasn't able to walk until he was 19 months old because of low muscle tone. Other symptoms began to show, but no one could identify the rare disorder he was carrying. It became a frustrating process for the Rustici family, as they knew something wasn't right, but just couldn't get an accurate diagnosis. Through genetic testing, it was finally determined that Mason has CMT.
"How can they help my child if no one has ever heard of CMT?" asks Lara. "I knew I needed to get involved. I needed to do something."
After exploring the world of CMT and learning a lot more about it, the Rustici family found that the best way to raise the visibility for CMT is through CMT awareness walks that are held around the country. South Florida didn't have any CMT walks established at the time, and Lara and family were up to make it happen. Last year, the first-ever South Florida CMT walk was held in Parkland. The event turned out to be a grand success, and this year they will be hosting the 2nd Annual CMT walk at Pine Trails Park.
"People in Parkland are wonderful and very generous to help with a good cause," shared Lara. "Last year our fundraising goal for the walk was $5,000, and we were able to raise over $20,000. This year our goal will be $25,000. I attribute the success of our walk to this wonderful community."
The money raised will go toward the STAR program, which provides treatment and research for CMT cures. The CMT walk will be held from 10:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 10, at Pine Trails Park. The walk itself will be one lap around Pine Trails Park, and there will also be events and activities on hand beginning at 10 a.m. that day, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, balloon art, face painters, inflatables, food trucks, a DJ, and more. The theme of the walk will celebrate Mason's 8th birthday, which is also in November.
"Walk day is a celebration of our fundraising success! Come out and party," Lara said. "Invite your family and friends for a day of CMT camaraderie and fun. Participate in raffles, enjoy the food, and have some fun!"
For more information, to donate or register for the walk please visit the Parkland Walk 4 CMT registration.