Local spina bifida and hydrocephalus charity SASBAH has topped off its 50th anniversary celebrations with a letter of congratulations from Prime Minister David Cameron.
Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell presented the letter to the body at the Arndale Centre where SASBAH was recently fundraising for the day.
The Prime Minister offered his “heartfelt congratulations” to the charity for its 50 years and said its work was “vitally important”.
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell presented the letter to the charity’s chief executive Rom Sanglaji.
She said, “SASBAH has done a tremendous job for a half a century in Sussex helping people with these conditions get the best help they can, so it was an honour for me to present the letter from the Prime Minister to them recognising their dedication.
“The charity is now helping around 500 people across East and West Sussex and my heartfelt thanks go to those who work for and run the organisation and also to the volunteers.
“Many congratulations SASBAH on your 50th anniversary.”
The Sussex Association for spina bifida and hydrocephalus was formed in 1955 due to growing demand for support services for those with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus in the county.
Their mission since then has been to work with those in Sussex who have spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus to create and develop best opportunities for those with the conditions.
Spina bifida occurs early in pregnancy, and is a defect in the development of the spine when one or more vertebrae fail to close properly, leaving a gap.
The spinal cord and nerves can be damaged, resulting in total paralysis below the defect.
Many with the condition are permanently confined to a wheelchair, or have severe mobility problems. Most will have serious bladder or bowel conditions.
Although spina bifida is itself a physical disability, a high proportion of people with spina bifida also have hydrocephalus.
Hydrocephalus is an excess of cerebro-spinal fluid in the head, often, but not necessarily, present at birth.
Excessive swelling can cause accelerated growth of a baby’s head and damage to the brain.
Hydrocephalus can also be acquired later in life through trauma of one form or another, or through still unknown causes in people over age 50.
The symptoms are often not recognised as requiring special treatment, especially if there is no, or only little, physical impairment.
Known as the hidden disability, the condition typically gives rise directly to lack of motivation, concentration and spatial awareness, poor short-term memory, inertia, learning disabilities, problems of co-ordination, social difficulties, and feelings of rejection and isolation.
Later in life it can be associated with, and often mistaken for, dementia.
Visit www.sasbah.org.uk to find out more about the charity and its role.
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