NORMAN — Four local teenagers are proving you don’t have to be an adult, rich or more than an average citizen to create hope and give back to those in need.
Kelsey Smith, Southmoore High School, Ashley Morris, Westmoore High School, Seyanna Smith, Norman North High School and Shelby Ellicott, Moore High School, hit the ground running in January to raise funds for 16-year-old Jazmin Hammons who struggles with Chiari malformation.
The idea to help Jazmin came after all four girls attended Moore Norman Technology Center and participated in the club Health Occupation Students of America, HOSA. Each year students involved in HOSA can compete in a state competition and Kelsey, Ashley, Seyanna and Shelby decided to compete in the community awareness category. Kelsey said they didn’t want to do something small and that they wanted their work to really benefit someone or the community.
Those that suffer from Chiari malformation have a skull that is too small for their brain, which causes the brain to be squished and fall down through the skull where the spinal cord connects to the brain.
Side effects of this malformation include painful headaches, trouble remembering events, people, places and facts and imbalance.
Hammons is a sophomore at Moore High School who was a successful student and loved to run track until her Chiari symptoms set in more recently. Now, Hammons has been having difficulty in school because she can’t remember what she’s learned and running track is no longer an option, Ashley explained.
Hammons sees 12 doctors and additionally faces complications from Scoliosis, POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and Connective Tissue Disorder.
The group’s fundraising slogan is “Hope for Jazmin” and they would like their fundraising efforts to provide money for as many medical treatments, medicine and travel expenses as possible. In particular, Hammons’ family needs funds to travel to New York to see a Chiari malformation expert.