Erika Spaide was born on July 14, 1992, a healthy, beautiful baby girl, but just five and a half short years later she was diagnosed with Batten disease.
Batten disease is a rare, fatal neurodegenerative disorder that begins in childhood. Symptoms include gradual onset of vision problems, seizures, behavior changes, slow learning or regression, repetitive speech, clumsiness or stumbling. Over time, affected children suffer mental impairment, worsening seizures, and progressive loss of sight, speech and motor skills.
Eventually, children with Batten disease become blind, and bedridden. This debilitating fatal disease affects 2 to 4 children out of 100,000 and claims a child or two per week. There is no cure or treatment at this time and is always fatal.
Despite living with this horrific disease, Erika continued to charm people with her bright charismatic soul and contagious smile that could light up a room. On Apr. 27, 2013, Erika passed peacefully in her home surrounded by her family and friends. She was just two months shy of her 21st birthday, living seven years past her life expectancy.
With the two-year anniversary of Erika’s passing approaching, there will be an event to commemorate her life and bring awareness to
Batten disease — a Family Fun Day fundraiser on Apr. 26. The event will include several bounce houses, a live deejay; face painting; food trucks including Liquid N2 Ice Cream truck, popcorn and cotton candy concession stands; a small vendor area with booths from various vendors; raffles, and special performances by local artists: Waving Hands, Paramount Dance Studios, Hip Hop Kidz, Academy of Arts & Minds Charter School, and Line Dancing with Delvin Henry, just to name a few.
The event takes place on Apr. 26 at Tropical Park, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and is open to the public. A $5 donation admission fee is asked of anyone attending. If anyone wishes to participate as a vendor, send email to Kim Spaide at Beeingerika@aol.com.
You can also visit Erika’s facebook page at www.Facebook.com/ErikaSpaide.