The Wells family was not about to let another year go by and miss another opporunity to raise funds and awareness for Chiari Malformation.

The Conquer Chiari Walk Across America, which takes place in 47 cities across 32 states, did not happen in the Phoenix-metropolitan area last year.

Beth Wells and her son, Brandon, wanted to make sure things were different this year. Preston Wells, the younger son and brother, was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation when he was 6 years old.

The event will take place this year on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Anthem Community Park, 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Pkwy, in Anthem.

Beth is taking care of the fundraising while Brandon, who made it his Eagle Scout project, is doing the organizing of just about everything else.

"I was responsible for finding the place and making it happen," he said. "The walk helps raise awareness for Chiari and I hope a lot of people show up."

Chiari Malformation is a neurological disorder where the brain descends out of the skull and puts pressure on the spine. Symptoms include severe headaches, neck pain and respiratory problems.

There is no cure for Chiari, but surgery can help relieve symptoms.

The Wells are part of a Valleywide group, called the Arizona Syringomyelia and Chiari Malformation Support Group, created by Ahwatukee Foothills resident Shelly Norris.

Syringomyelia is similar to Chiari in that it is caused by fluid buildup in the spinal cord.

"It breaks your heart to hear about kids who have to go through this, through surgery at such a young age," Norris said. "This group is a way to connect families so they can talk about their experiences and share advice."

Registration for Conquer Chiari Walk Across America is free, but a minimum donation of $25 is suggested.

Proceeds from the event will go to Conquer Chiari where 87 percent of the funding goes directly to research.

Also at the walk, there will be a DJ, a place to get a massage and two prize raffles.

To find out more, visit www.ConquerChiari.org or, for the Arizona Syringomyelia and Chiari Malformation Support Group, go to www.AZSyringoChiari.blogspot.com.

Contact the Wells at (602) 569-9439 or chiariwalkaz@cox.net to register.

Registration can also be done the day of the event, starting at 7 a.m. The walk begins at 8 a.m. and is approximately one mile.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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