Venus Williams (left) and Serena Williams laugh during an exhibition doubles match during Rogers Cup women’s tennis action in Toronto on Aug. 5, 2013. The two were playing Eugenie Bouchard and Monica Seles. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn) by Nikki DentonFor New Pittsburgh Courier Sjogrens is a rapidly growing disease that is not being diagnosed by many doctors. Venus Williams, one of many diagnosed with the disease is among the many women working to expose the general public to it. Locally Sandy Burkett is heading a campaign to educate the community.
by Alice Thomas-Tisdale On June 25, Janiya Bowens will be 10 years old. Quite a feat for Jackson’s little champion. Since age six, Janiya has struggled to maintain her balance, keep her eyes open, move her limbs, keep her food down, swallow, and lately, smile or utter a single word. Janiya suffers from spinocerebellar ataxias. It is a hereditary defect in a certain gene that makes abnormal proteins. The abnormal proteins hamper the ability of nerve cells, primarily in the cerebellum and spinal cord, to function properly and cause them to degenerate over time. As the disease progresses, coordination problems worsen.