Laugh out loud moments galore at Spina Bifida Awareness Week comedy night
Comedy isn’t something most people think of when they hear the words Spina Bifida but the two went hand in hand on Saturday night when Lawrence Mooney and Andrew Barnett put on a show for Northcott customers, their families, friends and carers.
As part of annual Spina Bifida Awareness Week celebrations, Northcott organised the hilarious comedy night so customers living with spina bifida could make new friends, enjoy themselves and build stronger support networks.
“The night included a two course dinner and feedback we received was very positive,” event organiser Jade Johnston said.
Check out photos from the night and some frequently asked questions and answers about spina bifida below.
What is spina bifida?
Spina bifida means split or divided spine. It occurs when a baby’s spinal cord fails to fully develop in the early weeks of pregnancy. This causes permanent nerve and vertebrae damage.
How does spina bifida affect people?
It affects people differently. Some people have paralysis or weakness in the legs, bowel and bladder incontinence, a build-up of spinal fluid on the brain (hydrocephalus) and learning difficulties. Many people with spina bifida are lead full, active and independent lives.
What causes it?
The direct cause of spina bifida is unknown. The risk of developing spina bifida can be reduced by up to 70 per cent if folate (or folic acid) is taken at the recommended levels one month before conception and during the first three months of pregnancy.
How common is it?
Around 5,000 Australians have spina bifida.
When is it diagnosed?
Ultrasounds and blood tests carried out between 16 and 18 weeks of pregnancy can determine if a baby has spina bifida.
What treatment options are there?
A long narrow tube called a shunt is used to drain excess spinal fluid from the brain of someone with spina bifida. Orthopaedic and bladder surgery may be required along with self-catheterisation.
Some people with spina bifida use a wheelchair for mobility while others may use walking aids like braces. Long-term orthopaedic and physiotherapy treatment could also be needed to strengthen weak muscles and prevent joint deformities.
How does Northcott support people with spina bifida?
Northcott’s Spina Bifida Adult Resource Team (SBART) supports young people moving from paediatric to adult services by helping them get access to health and community services relevant to their goals and needs. The SBART team works with clinicians and service providers to make sure they understand spina bifida and the unique needs of each person living with it.
For more information about spina bifida and to find out about support services available from Northcott, please get in touch with us at your earliest convenience.