Friday, April 12, 2013

U.S. House of Representatives Introduces Resolution for CDH Awareness Month

H. Res 144 that was introduced this week in the United States House of Representatives to make April, 2013 "National Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Month" by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) and co-sponsored by Rep. George Holding (R-NC). 

A companion bill was passed unanimously in the Senate on March 20, 2013 - S. Res. 85 which was sponsored by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and co-sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) affects 1600 babies a year in the United States, taking the lives of 800 children.  CDH occurs when the diaphragm fails to fully form, allowing abdominal organs to enter the chest cavity and preventing lung growth. The cause is unknown.  There is no awareness and very little research funding.  

CHERUBS - Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH): U.S. House of Representatives Introduces Resolution for CDH Awareness Month

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 19th 2013 Chicago Parade of Cherubs Press Release

Chicago, IL - CHERUBS, a non-profit organization, worked with Senators Jefferson Sessions (R-AL) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) to gain national awareness for the birth defect, Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, through Senate  Resolution 85: A resolution designating April 2013 as “National Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Month”.

A local “Parade of Cherubs” awareness event will be held on April 19th to benefit national charity CHERUBS and research at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia occurs when the diaphragm fails to fully form, allowing abdominal organs to migrate into the chest cavity, and preventing lung growth. It affects 1 in every 2,500 babies, representing approximately 1,600 babies in the United States each year, half of which do not survive.

PRESS RELEASE: Grassroots Parent Group Works With Senator Sessions to Raise Awareness with Unanimous Senate Passing of April, 2013 “Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Month” Resolution

Media Contact:
Neil Rubenstein

Chicago, IL (April 8, 2013) – On March 26, 2013, U.S. Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced Senate Resolution 85.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), along with his colleague Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), issued the following statement on March 22nd after the unanimous approval of Senate Resolution 85, designating April 2013 as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Month:

“I am pleased that the Senate has unanimously declared April 2013 as National Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness month. By joining together, we can help raise awareness of this serious birth defect. Early detection, good prenatal care, and awareness are vital for the survival, and healthy future, of the children born with this defect.”

On Friday, April 19th, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will meet with families affected by Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia who are participating in a “Parade of Cherubs” in Washington, DC, to raise awareness of the deadly birth defect. Sen. Sessions’ three-year old grandson, Jim Beau, is a CDH survivor. In Jim Beau’s honor, the Senator’s family will take part in the event, and Sen. Sessions is requesting a Congressional Bill for the benefit of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research.

Families will also meet with members of the House of Representatives on April 18th, which will be followed by a reception that evening on Capitol Hill to celebrate the passing of the Resolution in the Senate.

“CDH awareness and research is very important and especially to me because my grandson, Jim Beau, was born with CDH in 2009,” said Senator Sessions. “This is a life threatening birth defect that not many people have heard about. Only 50 percent of the babies survive and that number could and should be higher. Research and awareness are key and we are excited that CHERUBS chose to parade in DC this year.” said Senator Sessions at last year’s event in Washington, DC.

CDH occurs when the diaphragm fails to form or to close totally and the opening allows abdominal organs into the chest cavity, inhibiting lung growth. CDH affects approximately one in every 2,500 babies, or about 1,600 babies in the United States each year. It is as common as cystic fibrosis and spina bifida. Roughly 50 percent of babies born with CDH do not survive. The cause is still unknown.

The parade has been organized through CHERUBS, a North-Carolina based grassroots nonprofit organization started by Dawn Williamson whose son, Shane, died in 1999 at the age of six from CDH complications. Children donned in wings will begin the three-mile walk at 11:00 a.m. at the Lincoln Memorial; they will travel past the Washington Monument and the White House, and conclude at the U.S. Capitol Building.

“We are thrilled to have so many survivors and families affected by CDH as well as the medical community come out to support the cause,” said Dawn Williamson, president and founder of CHERUBS. “Not only are we celebrating the passing of this very important Senate Resolution for CDH awareness but our members have been gathering Proclamations from Governors and Mayors around the country as well to help raise awareness on a local level.”

CHERUBS is working with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago to put on the Chicago Parade of Cherubs on April 19th. The Illinois Representative for CHERUBS, Neil Rubenstein, is organizing the Chicago Parade. Starting at 11:00 a.m., participants will take part in a balloon launch at Childerley Park in Wheeling to pay respect to all those CHERUBS lost. Then they will walk 2.5 miles through Wheeling and Buffalo Grove to help raise awareness of CDH. Close to 70 people (from four states) are expected to participate in this awareness & fundraising event.

“Join us after the parade at Lou Malnati's in Buffalo Grove for lunch and help us Pack Potbelly's in Wheeling to raise additional money towards CDH research (from 3pm - 6 pm on April 19th as well)” invites Rubenstein.

50% of the money raised will stay local and be donated to Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

Several cities across the U.S. are also hosting “Parades of CHERUBS” on the same weekend including, Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Dallas, Peoria, Portland, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, St. Louis and Philadelphia. In addition to the parades, there will be a CDH Baseball Night with the Las Vegas 51’s, a Sky Dive Fundraiser in Shropshire, UK, and both the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and City Hall in Dublin, Ireland, will be lighting up for CDH Awareness. Many families will also be holding fundraisers and awareness events in honor or in memory of their children born with CDH. A virtual Parade of Cherubs has been set up on Facebook and Twitter so people can show their support by uploading photos and videos.

April 19th is recognized as the International Day of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness by families in 60 countries.

Shands for Children at the University of Florida in Gainesville, DHREAMS CDH Genetic Lab at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, the Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Genetic Research Study at Massachusetts General, the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute, and The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at CHOP have all been integral in raising CDH Awareness this year by sponsoring or assisting with Parades of CHERUBS at their respective hospitals.

A Virtual Parade of Cherubs will include 100's of CDH families submitting stories, photos and video over social media. More information can be found at

If you would like to help spread the word, or to learn more about CHERUBS and the upcoming parades, please visit

Additional Information:
Senate Resolution -