Imagine having a headache so excruciating it requires surgery. Chiari is a neurological disorder where the brain descends out of the skull and puts pressure on the spine. It affects people of all ages, races, causes many symptoms including severe headaches, neck pain, and weaknesses in the arms, legs, balance and respiratory problems.
Plant City resident Serenity Harper is the site organizer for the Fourth Annual Conquer Chiari Walk Across America to be held on Saturday, September 17, 2011 in Al Lopez Park, 4810 North Himes Ave. Tampa.
Harper, who has had problems since birth, was diagnosed with chiari, along with her daughter.
And tragically women have a 50 percent chance of passing the disease to their child. Pregnancy can make chiari worse. Doctors are trying to identify the chromosome that causes chiari.
Chiari limits activities such as running or weight lifting. And while some people think car accidents cause the disease some people think it’s congenital.
“There is so little knowledge about it,” Harper stated. However, what Harper knows as well as other chiari patients is chiari gets worse without treatment. Unfortunately, brain surgery is the only choice patients have.
“It’s about quality of life,” Harper remarked. “I am not any better off,” said Harper who has been through 2 surgeries.
Because of the trauma inflicted on her physically, Harper spent 7-8 days in ICU with numerous complications to the point of almost losing her life.
“I see too many times people have the second surgery because surgeons don’t have enough knowledge. That’s my belief,” Harper stated.
The Chiari Walk will raise money and educate people about chiari. Chiari is a foreign to many people.
“I hope to find more effective treatments for my daughter and other people and find out more about genetic links,” Harper concluded optimistically.
The Walk is free to participate, and those who preregister and donate $25 receive a Conquer Chiari shirt. There will be activities such as face painting and raffle. You can pre- register online at
By Brittany Rollings