COLUMBUS - State Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township) today announced the House passage of legislation he sponsored to officially designate September 25 as International Ataxia Awareness Day in Ohio.
Approximately 150,000 Americans are affected by hereditary or sporadic ataxia, which is characterized by a lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements, such as walking or picking up objects. Usually caused by damage to the area of the brain responsible for muscle coordination, called the cerebellum, the underlying condition can affect various movements, creating difficulties with speech, eye movement and swallowing.
"I'm delighted to lend my support to this purposeful endeavor, which I hope will instill confidence in those living with this condition, as well as their families, that they have not been forgotten," said Eklund. "This will also serve to drive greater awareness about organizations providing patients with valuable resources and support."
No effective treatment or cure is available for those living with this rare degenerative neurological condition. Symptoms of hereditary ataxia can occur at any ages, but most often presenting between ages 20 and 40 for those with the dominant gene and during the teen years for those with the recessive gene.
Support organizations and patient communities play an important role in helping these individuals cope and deal with this degenerative condition. Inspired by the determination of various individuals living with hereditary and sporadic forms of ataxia, Senator Eklund introduced Senate Bill 143 in an effort to increase awareness in hopes of building momentum in medical research communities as they pursue potentially life-saving research.
Senate Bill 143 now goes to the Governor for his consideration.