Rare Disease Report

Patriotic Spina Bifida Patient Rises Out of Wheel Chair for American Flag

OCTOBER 20, 2016
Andrew Black
Talk about standing for something. 16-year-old Arek Trenholm who was born with spina bifida rose up out of his wheel chair to honor the American flag as it passed him in a school parade.
Arek was just outside of his uncle’s photography shop as a local school’s parade marched by him. The school’s junior The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) was marching and held up the American flag. And then, something great happened.
He used his arms to rise up out of his wheelchair to stand before his country’s symbol of freedom. To show his respect to his country. His uncle, snapped the picture.
Arek is known for his patriotism. His mother, Deree Trenholm, said that despite his disability, he’s been standing for national anthems, pledges and flags since he was very young.
He also has 10 pairs of red white and blue leg braces.
Of course, ironically, this moment and the awareness of this picture is spreading in a time where virally, professional athletes are taking a stand against America and are sitting through national anthems.
As 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick leads NFL players in remaining seated or kneeling during the national anthem before games to speak their minds against police brutality, Arek used everything he had to stand for a local flag passing.

About Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is a birth defect in which a developing baby's spinal cord fails to develop properly. There are four types of spina bifida:
Occulta is the mildest and most common form in which one or more vertebrae are malformed. A layer of skin covers the malformation, or opening in the vertebrae.  This form of spina bifida, present in 10-20% of the general population, rarely causes disability or symptoms.
Closed neural tube defects make up the second type of spina bifida.  This form consists of a diverse group of defects in which the spinal cord is marked by malformations of fat, bone, or meninges.  In most instances there are few or no symptoms; in others the malformation causes incomplete paralysis with urinary and bowel dysfunction.
Meningocele is where spinal fluid and meninges protrude through an abnormal vertebral opening; the malformation contains no neural elements and may or may not be covered by a layer of skin.  Some individuals with meningocele may have few or no symptoms while others may experience such symptoms as complete paralysis with bladder and bowel dysfunction.
Myelomeningocele is the most severe and occurs when the spinal cord/neural elements are exposed through the opening in the spine, resulting in partial or complete paralysis of the parts of the body below the spinal opening.  The impairment may be so severe that the affected individual is unable to walk and may have bladder and bowel dysfunction.

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