Club Spotlight: Fight Against Chiari Club


Sean Etter, Editor-in-Chief

Shawnee High School offers students a variety of different clubs and extracurricular activities to participate in. In addition to the preexisting clubs and activities, Shawnee also gives its students the opportunity to start brand new clubs of their own.

The newest student-made club at Shawnee is called Fight Against Chiari Club (FAC Club), started by Shawnee junior Ashley Wetzel. The Report interviewed Ashley to find out what her new club is all about.

The first question that many people have about this club is “what exactly is Chiari?” Ashley said “Chiari Malformation is a disease that involves the brain bulging out of the skull, being pushed into the spinal cord. This can cause severe pain in the neck and shoulders as well as spinal cysts,” which are fluid-filled sacs that develop due to degeneration of the spine.

When asked as to why she started a club about a relatively obscure and rare disease, Ashley explained that Chiari is a very personal disease for her and her family. “My cousin Joey, a baseball player at St. Joe’s University, suffers from [Chiari Malformation],” Ashley said. “He had to undergo seven surgeries: two brain surgeries and five other surgeries, momentarily stopping his baseball career. However, after a long road of recovery, Joey is finally back on the mound! We decided to start this club to support him.”

FAC Club goes far beyond just helping Joey, however. Ashley said that the club’s goals were to “spread awareness [about the disease] and raise money for Joey’s foundation, Losing Is Not An Option. We hope to not only benefit Joey as we help him raise money for his cause, we also hope to benefit other kids and adults who suffer from this disease.”

If you are interested in joining Fight Against Chiari Club and wish to raise awareness about this disease, then make sure to attend FAC Club’s meetings. Anyone can join and everyone is invited to attend meetings. FAC Clubs meets at the beginning of every month on Day 4 during both halves of Lunch and Learn. The club meets in room D117.

I’d like to give special thanks to Ashley Wetzel for doing this interview and providing insight into her new club.