Utah news

Thursday, August 16, 2001

The light of hope

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Young Nikolas Winward, who has spinal muscular atrophy, lights a candle with the help of his uncle Val Winward during the 2nd Annual Families of SMA Luminary Lighting Ceremony held Wednesday evening on the Utah State Capitol steps. Assistant Attorney General Steve Mikita, who has SMA himself, was the featured speaker. Spinal muscular atrophy is a genetic disease that is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 2. More than half of all children diagnosed with SMA die before they reach their second birthday. There is no cure. Families of SMA is a 100 percent volunteer nonprofit organization founded in 1984 by parents of children suffering from the disease. Based in Libertyville, Ill., the group has 20 chapters worldwide and more than 4,000 member families.


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