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FASD walk held to bring support; awareness

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September 9th once again marked the walk in support of efforts to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and once again the community came out to show this issue is important to them.
The walk is held on September 9th, as that is the ninth day of the ninth month of the year. The number nine symbolizes the number of months a child is in their mothers’ womb. FASD develops during this time if the mother consumes alcohol during pregnancy.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “FASDs are caused by a woman drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord.
There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time to drink during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause problems for a developing baby throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she’s pregnant. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer.
To prevent FASDs, a woman should not drink alcohol while she is pregnant, or might be pregnant. This is because a woman could get pregnant and not know for up to 4 to 6 weeks.
FASDs are preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy.”
Typically, this walk has been well supported in The Pas and that was the fact again on Monday morning when walkers first gathered on the front steps of the Town of The pas municipal offices. Approximately 50 people were on hand to be in the walk including members of the OCN Blizzard hockey club and MLA for The Pas-Keemasak riding Amanda Lathlin.
“I think it went quite well considering the fact in looked like we were going to be battling some pretty ominous weather,” said Marni Streit, event coordinator.
Streit noted the strong turnout of people to the walk was fairly typical in comparison to prior years; however she felt there were a larger number of adults and fewer children participating, something she attributed to the weather.
When asked if there was a target group or age the awareness being raised was targeted at, Streit stated the goal is still to raise aware to all age groups, whoever they also wanted to help focus support to individuals who are living with FASD.
“It tends to be a really hidden disability,” said Streit. “Someone may not look like they have FASD or would have FASD but they could struggle with daily tasks that you may not notice right away,” stated Streit. “You can’t see it on someone but they may be struggling.”
One of the other big issues with FASD is it is not an easily diagnosed disability. Rather, a series of testing and specialists may be required to be brought in to make such an assessment, something that could take years to accomplish.
“It’s as simple as taking a blood test,” said Streit.
If anyone is interested in investigating the possibility of a diagnosis for themselves or a loved one, and drinking during pregnancy is confirmed, they can contact Joanne Wyman at the Primary Health Care Centre at 204-623-9650.

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Trent Allen
EDITOR
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