CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Ema McLaughen looks like any other 3 year old, full of life and energy. But her family wasn't sure she would ever reach this point.
Chara McLaughen, Ema's Mom says "The first 5 months of her life was kind of a whirlwind and we weren't sure how severe it was." Ema was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, fluid on the brain, which can cause painful symptoms and be even be fatal if not treated.
There is no known way to prevent or cure this condition. The most common treatment is surgery to implant a device called a shunt. Chara McLaughen says "The shunt is actually a tube that is inserted into her brain through surgery and the other tube drains out of her brain and into her abdomen.'
There is no guarantee with the shunt, they have a 50 percent failure rate. Ema's had to have brain surgery twice since that first procedure, and it's not uncommon for someone with hydrocephalus to have more than 10 brain surgeries in their lifetime.
Chara McLaughen says "The shunt was developed over 60 years ago and we really haven't had any significant changes in the treatment." And that's why Chara is hoping to raise awareness and funds with the upcoming Hydrocephalus Walk.
Chara McLaughen says "She is in preschool she's developed well, she's continued to thrive, but it's a watch and wait. We never know."
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If you're going: Hydrocephalus Walk, Saturday, October 27th at Coolidge Park. Call (423) 954-0059 for more information.
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