Lawrenceville Walk-N-Rollathon aimed to spread awareness

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Have you ever heard of Congenital Cytomegalovirus? If you have, do you actually know what it is?

For those who would like to learn more about the infection and support its fundraising, the Brendan B. McGinnis Congenital CMV Foundation is hosting its fifth annual CMV Awareness Walk-N-Rollathon on Saturday at Bethesda Park.

"The event is more for awareness. The fundraising is minuscule compared to educating the public," Diane Hoffman said, who participates annually because her 29-year-old son was born with the infection. "Congenital CMV is the most common congenital -- meaning present at birth -- infection in America. It is the most common cause of childhood disabilities in the U.S. More children are disabled each year from congenital CMV than from Down syndrome, Spina Bifida or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome."

According to the foundation's website, CMV affects a developing child because "the brain of the unborn baby is particularly targeted by the virus, and infection results in a wide range of neurodevelopmental disabilities, including deafness, microcephaly (small brain), cerebral palsy, blindness or retinal scarring, intellectual disability and seizures. Other developmental disabilities, such as autism, may be due to CMV infection."

The money raised at the event will go back to the nonprofit which is "dedicated to raising awareness of CMV, to supporting CMV vaccine research and to supporting families affected by CMV around the world."

The walk begins at 9:30 a.m. For more information, call Hoffman at 678-985-3238 or email dihof3@gmail.com or visit www.cmvfoundation.org.

Bethesda Park is located at 225 Bethesda Church Road in Lawrenceville.