The Reason2Ride Club received a handful of beneficiary applications for 2018.
After contacting all applicants and collecting additional information on them and their situations the Reason2Ride club members selected:

KARIS ACKER of Sun Prairie, WI is our 15th Annual (2018) Reason 2 Ride Beneficiary

A little bit of information on Karis:
Karis is 14 years old. Approximately 5-6 months ago Karis was diagnosed with Moyamoya Disease after having a stroke.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (http://ninds.nih.gov) defines Moyamoya disease as follows:

A rare, progressive cerebrovascular disorder caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain in an area called the basal ganglia.

The name “moyamoya” means “puff of smoke” in Japanese and describes the look of the tangle of tiny vessels formed to compensate for the blockage. Moyamoya disease was first described in Japan in the 1960s and it has since been found in individuals in the other countries around the world; its incidence is higher in Asian countries than in Europe or North America.

The disease primarily affects children, but it can also occur in adults. In children, the first symptom of Moyamoya disease is often stroke, or recurrent transient ischemic attacks (TIA, commonly referred to as “mini-strokes”), frequently accompanied by muscular weakness or paralysis affecting one side of the body, or seizures.

Karis always had low muscle tone, and a lazy eye. In March 2018, Karis had surgery to better her lazy eye, and during surgery her blood pressure dropped causing a stroke. After that she has had additional surgeries to strip the blood vessels in her brain, and a bypass to get the blood flowing to promote regeneration. It is thought, now after many tests, that Karis may have had a stroke during birth which caused the low muscle tone, lazy eye, and autism.

Adults may also experience these symptoms that arise from blocked arteries, but more often experience a hemorrhagic stroke due to bleeding into the brain from the abnormal brain vessels. Individuals with this disorder may have disturbed consciousness, problems with speaking and understanding speech, sensory and cognitive impairments, involuntary movements, and vision problems. About one in 10 individuals with Moyamoya disease has a close relative who is also affected. Without surgery or treatment, Moyamoya disease can be fatal.

Karis will need to be monitored for the rest of her  life. She will be required to have scans every year to check any positive or negative progress.

Karis’ family all lives in Sun Prairie. Karis’ father, Derek, sells bread products and is self-employed. Karis’ mother, Denise, works for UW Health. Karis has an older brother, Keegan, and two sisters.  We all know that health insurance for a small family is not cheap, but health insurance for a family experiencing various health issues is outrageous. Denise recently had a hip replaced, and Keegan has some issues as well. Being self-employed, expenses tend to mount up quickly.

We hope that by providing some financial and emotional support to the family we can also give them some comfort and piece of mind.

Information found at:“Moyamoya Disease Information Page.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25 May 2017, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Moyamoya-Disease-Information-Page.