Stepping up to create awareness for cerebral palsy research

Stepping up

David Hungate

Faculty and staff from Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute including (from left) Maria Stack, Laura Bateman, Stephanie DeLuca, Libbie Sonnier-Neto, Mary Rebekah Trucks and Dory Wallace walk to raise awareness for the urgency of cerebral palsy research.

If a journey of a million miles starts with a single step, what do you get for a couple of million steps?

Hopefully, you’ve created a whole lot of awareness about the need for research into cerebral palsy, according to teams of faculty and students associated with the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Neuromotor Research Clinic, who have been walking throughout “STEPtember,”, which started Sept. 1 and closed Oct. 4.

The teams totaled up their steps and came to a whopping total of – 2,773,770 steps.

“Awareness is the big message,” said Stephanie DeLuca, an assistant professor and director of the VTCRI Neuromotor Research Clinic. “Cerebral palsy is the highest expenditure in health care for childhood disability and there are not nearly enough dedicated research funds.”

DeLuca, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine joined STEPtember as a commitment to raise awareness.

Researchers are optimistic.

“I firmly believe raising awareness can help,” she said. “Anything we can do is a step in the right direction.”

“We pledged to walk 10,000 steps a day per person for 28 straight days,” said Libbie Sonnier-Netto, a doctoral candidate and graduate research assistant in the Ramey Lab of Human Development and the Neuromotor Research Clinic. “It is a wonderful opportunity to promote and support high quality research in treatment, prevention, and a cure for cerebral palsy.”

Steppers included DeLuca, Sonnier-Neto, Dory Wallace, Mary Rebekah Trucks, Laura Bateman, Jessie Mann, Maria Stack Hankey, and Dakota DeLuca.