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Ballwin school rallies around student with rare neurological disorder

By: Jim Erickson


Willow and some of her supporters.

The Woerther Elementary School community in Ballwin is rallying around one of its students afflicted with an extremely rare neurological disorder.

Led by second grade teacher Michelle Bell, the school is selling wristbands to support the sixth annual “Walk for Willow,” a benefit event for Woerther first grader Willow Schreiber.

Willow is afflicted with MPPH Syndrome, which has left her immobile and non-verbal. Fed through a tube in her abdomen, she also suffers from uncontrollable epilepsy, recurring pneumonia and other complications.

Willow’s brother, Liam, is a second grader at Woerther and Bell is his teacher. Bell is also organizing a walk team of school faculty members and is encouraging other families to attend the event.

Students sporting their ‘Walking with Willow’ wristbands.

The walk starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Kircher Park in Eureka. The family-friendly event includes a one-mile walk, live music, raffles, silent auction, face painting, carnival games, a balloon artist and other activities.

Emily Ross, one of the event chairs, says this year’s goal is to register 500 participants. Those registering to walk and donating $25 or more will receive a “Walk for Willow” shirt. Those wanting to donate but unable to participate can register as virtual walkers. Event registration is at WalkForWillow.com.

Proceeds will go toward Willow’s ongoing medical expenses and to help purchase a handicap-accessible stroller and car seat.

Jane Levy, Woerther principal, applauded Bell’s efforts to promote the walk and wristband sales. “Willow is an important, new member of our school community and we’re excited to help.”

“Our family is beyond thankful for the support that Ms. Bell and the Woerther community have given Willow,” said Andrea Schreiber, Willow’s mother.

The prognosis for Willow is unknown.

“We have learned to cherish each day, enjoy every smile and find joy in Willow’s journey,” Schreiber said.

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