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Condition Becomes Annual Cause

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There was a time when Kathy Carrillo didn’t believe her daughter, Amy, would live past the age of 1.

Carrillo’s now 8-year-old daughter was diagnosed with hydrocephalus before birth. Her struggles have become the inspiration for an annual walk in the Village of Los Ranchos to raise money for research that could find a cure for her life-threatening condition, which is an excess of cerebral spinal fluid. Those who suffer from it must go through multiple brain surgeries and are prone to infection. There is no cure, it can be life threatening, and there has been no change in treatment since the 1950s.

This year’s 3.1-mile walk will be Saturday, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. at Hartnet Park, 6718 Rio Grande Blvd.

Hydrocephalus Walk
When: Saturday with registration starting at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Hartnet Park, 6718 Rio Grande Blvd.
Contact: Kathy Carrillo 440-3573

Last year the local walk raised $20,000, Carrillo said, and she hopes to surpass that this year. Participants in the walk are asked to get sponsors to help raise money. Sponsors can be family, friends or anyone else willing to donate.

Doctor’s told Anita Sandoval she might want to consider terminating her pregnancy when she learned in her 20th week that her now 18-month-old son, Joaquin, would be born with hydrocephalus. Sandoval’s older brother suffered from the condition and died when he was 20.

“I prayed about it,” she said. “Then I said if my mom could do then so can I.”

Sandoval said she has not regretted her decision and finds support from other families dealing with the same challenges. Her son cannot walk or sit on his own, but she said he’s still a happy child.

“I just try to encourage him,” she said. “He can’t do a lot, but he can do some things, and I just want him to live the best life possible.”

Carrillo’s daughter has not had a life-threatening infection since she was a toddler.

“She turned a year old in the hospital and she was dying,” Carrillo said. “She had four infections and the doctors had all given up.”

The family was flown to Utah where Amy was saved, but it took months to get her healthy enough to go back home. After returning, Kathy Carrillo said she was determined to do something to help find a cure. She contacted the Hydrocephalus Association and they told her about annual walks across the country meant to raise awareness and money. This is the sixth year for the Los Ranchos walk.

“It has been the way I deal with this, I guess,” she said. “The families who do this walk are amazing.”
— This article appeared on page 1 of the West Side Journal