The Fairfield Police Department announces its partnership with Ariya’s Wish, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit, that raises awareness and funds for Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD) research. INAD is a rare, inherited disorder of the body's nervous system. It affects axons, the part of a neuron (nerve cell) that carries messages from the brain to other parts of the body. INAD causes loss of vision, muscular control, and mental skills. It starts to present in children between the ages of 6 months to 3 years. So rare, that it is estimated only 150 children worldwide have this disease.
Fairfield resident, 8-year-old Ariya Panwala, was diagnosed with INAD at the age of 2. She was just 14-months-old when the first symptoms of the disease appeared. After her diagnosis, her parents, Anil and Leena, learned that not much was known about the disease and that little funding was dedicated to researching it. In response, they founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to raise funds for critical research that could lead to the treatment for INAD and other PLA2G6-related neurodegeneration (PLAN) disorders.
A type of gene therapy that can replace the defective gene with a healthy one, this groundbreaking therapy has the potential to stop or slow the progression of the disease. Working with a team of scientists, their nonprofit has already begun developing an experimental gene therapy treatment and hopes to start a clinical trial within the next 18-24 months. Together with about two dozen other families whose children have INAD, they are trying to raise the $7 million needed to develop what could truly be a life-changing treatment for Ariya and these children suffering from this devastating disease.
All Fairfield Police officers are wearing buttons supporting Ariya’s Wish, and magnets have been affixed to our police cars. Together we want to raise awareness of this disease and support Ariya and her family as she bravely battles INAD every day. To learn more about Ariya and her family, or if you would like to donate to help fund this research, please visit www.ariyaswish.org