Carlee Beam, 6, will be on hand at the March 29 Carlee’s Big SMA Shoot Out, a benefit to raise money for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Photo submitted
Carlee Beam is a charismatic 6-year-old from Murfreesboro who loves to sing, dance, and watch her brother Drew play baseball.
She draws colorful pictures and plays pretend, along with her kindergarten classmates. Carlee does all of this from the seat of her wheelchair, but that seldom interferes with her zest for life or the joy that she spreads to everyone around her.
Carlee has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, Type II, and an upcoming event will raise funds for the research needed to cure it. Carlee’s Big SMA Shoot Out will take place on Saturday, March 29.
“It’s important to celebrate the life you have, not the life you imagined having, and this event helps us do just that,” said Carlee’s mom, Kelli Beam. “With Carlee’s Big SMA Shoot Out, we bring awareness to SMA and its horrible effects, and raise much needed research dollars.”
The Shoot Out, presented by title sponsor Premier Orthopaedics, will take place at the Nashville Gun Club, located at 1100 County Hospital Road. Newk’s is a gold sponsor and will provide food for event participants. The Beams hope to raise $40,000 at the event, which is in its second year.
The fun-packed day will include a skeet shooting course, sporting clays, lunch, fun shots, silent auction and great prizes for the shooters. Tickets are $150 for a single shooter or $750 for a five-shooter team. Other opportunities to support Carlee include volunteering on the day of the event or donating funds or silent auction items. Participants can register at www.cureforcarlee.com.
SMA is a motor neuron disease. The motor neurons affect the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control and swallowing. It is a relatively common “rare disorder.” Approximately one in 6,000 babies born are affected and about one in 40 people are genetic carriers.
SMA affects muscles throughout the body, although the proximal muscles (those closest to the trunk of one’s body) are often most severely affected. Weakness in the legs is generally greater than in the arms. Sometimes feeding and swallowing can be affected. Involvement of respiratory muscles (muscles involved in breathing and coughing) can lead to increased tendency for pneumonia and other lung problems. Intellectual ability is normal and it is often observed that SMA patients are unusually bright and sociable. Patients are generally grouped into one of four categories, based on certain motor milestones.
Carlee will be on hand at the Shoot Out, encouraging shooters and silent auction bidders. According to Kelli, Carlee can’t wait for her “vent” to get here, so she can shoot her pink gun.