Hilliard Northwest News

Davidson grad to lead charity walk Aug. 2

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A 2013 Davidson High School graduate will lead a walk Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Heritage Trail to benefit CHERUBS, a charity organization supporting research for congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

Jessica "Jessy" Tunnell, a sophomore at Anderson University in Indiana, was born with CDH.

"I wanted a way to raise money and awareness for CDH," said Tunnell, 20. "God placed it in my heart to do this."

CDH is a congenital condition in which the diaphragm fails to form or completely close, allowing abdominal organs into the chest cavity.

In Tunnell's case, her right lung did not completely form and she has about 50 percent of normal lung capacity.

"It's a little easier for me today than when I was a child," Tunnell said.

Tunnell could not participate in sporting activities with her twin brother and older sister.

"There are better treatments for it now but there is still not a lot known about its cause or whether it's genetic," she said.

As a child, a "patch" was inserted into Tunnell's abdomen and attached to a rib to serve as a buffer with the underdeveloped diaphragm. Because it is attached to a rib, the associated pressure caused moderate scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, Tunnell said.

Asthma, spina bifida and cystic fibrosis are other associated diseases, Tunnell said, and about half of infants born with CDH survive to adulthood.

"With this walk, I hope to raise awareness and bring hope to children and families (experiencing CDH)," Tunnell said.

Jessy's Journey for CHERUBS will begin at 10 a.m. Aug. 2 at the Old Hilliard entrance to the Heritage Trail on Center Street, just north of Wayne Street.

Registration will begin at 9 a.m. The minimum donation to participate will be $7.

Participants can walk, run or bike 1.5 miles to Homestead Park or continue to the end of the 6.5-mile trail.

Donations for Jessy's Journey also can be made at firstgiving.com.

The Ohio CDH annual picnic will be held at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at Homestead Park, 4675 Cosgray Road.

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