Pie-throwing challenge raises awareness for rare disease impacting small children

WICHITA, Kan. Wesley Medical Center staff Tuesday took a few pies to the face for a good cause. The comical display was part of the #smashSMARDchallenge, specifically bringing awareness to cases across the U.S. like that of a 7-month-old Wichita area boy.

The acronym, "SMARD" stands for Spinal Muscular Atrophy with Respiratory Distress, a rare disease that affects small children, including Landen, a patient at Wesley Children's Hospital. The hospital says Landen was diagnosed with SMARD 1, "a very rare autosomal recessive motor neuron disorder that affects infants and is characterized by diaphragmatic palsy, symmetrical distal muscular weakness, muscle atrophy, peripheral sensory nephropathy and autonomic nerve dysfunction."

Landen's mother, Emily Wiebe says in her infant son's case, Landen started off having a cold and his situation got progressively worse. By Christmas Day, Wiebe says Landen was fighting to breathe, leading to his time in the hospital.

The president of the nonprofit organization, smashSMARD says the challenge began specifically to fund reasearch at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. You can donate to the nationwide cause here.

You can learn more about SMARD at Smashsmard.org