Woman raising money for research

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Clanton woman is trying to raise money to find a cure for a devastating disease that has personally affected her.

Shirley McAfee will participate in “Step Forward to Cure Tuberous Sclerosis Walk” Saturday at Mountain Brook High School. McAfee, who is a teacher at Thorsby School, knows firsthand what this disease can do to a person; her daughter, Alicia, has the disease.

According to the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance’s Web site, Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in many different organs, primarily in the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, skin and lungs.

The disease affects some people severely, while others are so mildly affected that it often goes undiagnosed. Some people with TSC experience developmental delay, mental retardation and autism. Many people with TSC live independent, healthy lives.

McAfee’s daughter, however, isn’t one of those cases. At age 5, Alicia was diagnosed with the disease. Now, she is 39 years old and still battling it.

“Doctors think we are close to a cure, and we hope that is the case,” McAfee said.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the cause can log on to www.firstgiving.com/birminghamal. McAfee said to look for “Team Alicia.”