Council welcomes Ibigawa delegates, proclaims Dysautonomia Awareness Month

Members of the St. George City Council welcome the delegates from Ibigawa, Japan. The two cities have been engaged in a cultural exchange surrounding their respective marathons for the last 27 years, St. George, Utah, Oct. 1, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – City officials recognized and welcomed a delegation from Ibigawa, Japan, during City Council meeting Thursday, continuing a tradition of exchange between the cities of nearly 30 years.

Also during the council meeting the mayor named October Dysautonomia Awareness Month via a proclamation. The proclamation is a part of a local effort to spread knowledge and education regarding a little known and disabling disorder that disrupts the autonomic nervous system.

Ibigawa delegation

St. George and Ibigawa have engaged in a cultural exchange focused around their own marathons for the last 27 years. Each year since the beginning of the exchange city officials and athletes from both cities have come to St. George in early October and to Ibigawa in November to represent their cities and run in their respective marathons.

“Previously, I had the opportunity to go to Ibigawa twice,” Mayor Jon Pike said. He visited the city while still a city councilman, he said, adding that Councilman Jimmie Hughes will be going this year.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” Pike said. “We love the association with Ibigawa.”

The Japaneses delegates arrived earlier this week and have been taking in the sights and activities the area has to offer. Their activities have included visiting the Dixie Rock, the Red Hills Desert Garden, shooting with the St. George Police Department and so on. Following the marathon, the delegates will be taken to Springdale and Zion National Park.

While at the council meeting, the delegates were also treated to gifts from the St. George Exchange Club, the group that originally started the St. George Marathon 39 years ago. The Mayor’s Walk has been going for the last 29 years.

James McFadden, the president of the St. George Exchange Club, invited the public and city officials to participate in the Mayor’s Walk Saturday morning.

Registration for the Mayor’s Walk is $10, and part of the revenue from the event will be going toward the All Abilities Park.

Such far, the St. George Exchange Club has pledged $100,000 toward the park.

The Mayor’s Walk is this Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. at the Sandtown Park at 700 N. Bluff street. Participants can register online here.

Read more: St. George Marathon guide: fun runs, expo, spectating locations

Dysautonomia proclamation

The mayor read a proclamation making October Dysautonomia Awareness Month in St. George.

Dysautonomia refers to a little known and disabling group of medical conditions that strikes the autonomic nervous system. It is the system that governs nonvoluntary bodily functions such as breathing, digestive processes, heartbeat and so forth.

Now enter a disorder that disrupts those processes and you have dysautonomia. It’s not widely known about and it’s also not the easiest thing the diagnose, said Brittany Hollinshead, Mrs. Ivins 2015. She is an advocate for spreading awareness of the disorder.

There is no streamlined diagnosis, there’s no approved treatment, and there’s no cure at this time,” she said to the City Council. “We have a multitude of people in Southern Utah who probably feel hopelessly and feel like they have no outlet and no support group. That is why we’ve asked you … to proclaim October Dysautonomia Awareness Month.”

Hollinshead has a form of dysautonomia called Postural Orthostatic Tachycarida Syndrome, or POTS syndrome. POTS disrupts the body’s ability to compensate for how its internal systems respond related to the posture of the body. This has caused some people with the disorder to faint as their blood pressure doesn’t adapt between sitting and standing.

Hollinshead has had POTS for 10 years. During seven of those years, doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause of her ailment. Sometimes she was told it was all in her head, she said. Such reactions are not uncommon, she added.

She has since learned to control her symptoms, she said, and now works to spread dysautonomia awareness in Southern Utah.

“Have anyone of you heard of this? Do you recall hearing of this?” Pike said. “When this was presented to me by Mrs. Ivins, I had not heard of it. It’s obviously incredibly serious and disabling. We appreciate you being this to our attention and we’ll help in any way we can to make it more well known … This has really been an education for us.”

More about disorder can be learned at Dysautonomia International

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Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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