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Dover Post
  • Fairview Elementary holds Zumba fundraiser for one of its own

  • Eden Cheslock is a quiet 5-year-old who attends the preschool program at Fairview Elementary School. When the pensive young child is not in class, she can be seen rocketing around Fairview in a hot pink motorized wheelchair.
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  • Eden Cheslock is a quiet 5-year-old who attends the preschool program at Fairview Elementary School. When the pensive young child is not in class, she can be seen rocketing around Fairview in a hot pink motorized wheelchair.
    When Eden was just 1 year old, she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II, a genetic disorder that causes muscle weakness, leaving her unable to walk. Sings of the disorder began to present themselves when Eden was just a few months old, said her mother Nicole.
    “She was meeting her milestones but the one thing that alarmed us was that, even when we stood her up, she was never able to bare weight in her legs,” Nicole Cheslock said. “She started crawling at 8 months, but then at 10 months we noticed it was becoming difficult for her.”
    Eden’s parents took her to see a doctor, who referred the family to A. I. DuPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington. A genetic blood test confirmed that Eden had SMA. She is able to sit up on her own, but is unable to bear weight on her legs and has trouble lifting objects.
    Fairview Elementary held a kid-friendly Zumba fundraiser on Wednesday to benefit a team of runners taking part in the Delaware Marathon who will be raising money for Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, an organization, working to fund SMA research. There is currently no cure for SMA.
    “They don’t really have a treatment,” Nicole Cheslock said. “They just set Eden up with different therapies to help keep the muscles stimulated.”
    Eden does physical and occupational therapies, as well as hippotherapy, in which she rides horses as a form of therapy. Even simple acts like blowing bubbles can help to keep her lung muscles stimulated.
    At Tuesday’s fundraiser, fellow Fairview students donated $5 and were led through a half-hour Zumba routine, with Jessica Moyer as their teacher. Moyer − a Magnolia resident, Zumba instructor and president of the Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy for the South Jersey Delaware Region − lost her 9-month-old son to SMA a decade ago. Using the Zumba fundraiser is effective because it helps kids get involved, Moyer said.
    “I think getting the kids active and involved is something they enjoy,” Moyer said. “I think it teaches them to be accepting to everyone, especially kids with disabilities.”
    The children in Eden’s class have been accepting of her disability, but are always curious about her wheelchair, said Stephanie Kelley, a paraprofessional at Fariview who serves at Eden’s aide.
    “Kids always say, ‘Oh I wish I had a chair like hers,’ and she doesn’t get upset or get mad,” Kelley said. “She just smiles at them. She does really well with it.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Despite the physical challenges she faces, Eden is a smart, funny little girl, who enjoys playing, making jewelry, video games and wresting with her brother, Nicole Cheslock said.
    “She enjoys life,” Nicole said. “She asks for help when she realizes she is unable to open things or get to something that she wants, but she will definitely make attempts first before asking for help.
    “She tries to be as independent as she possibly can,” Nicole said. “We just have hope that she’ll see a cure in her lifetime.”
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