Sept. 9 was International FASD Day with the B.C. government declaring September, FASD Prevention and Support Month.
According to Health Canada, 9.1 per 1,000 children per year /are born with some form of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which equates to more than 3,500 babies inflicted with lifelong developmental challenges.
FASD describes a range of disabilities that result from prenatal exposure to alcohol during pregnancy. It is often an invisible disorder and is the leading known cause of a preventable developmental disability among Canadians.
It is also far from discerning as it affects all socio/economic and cultural backgrounds.
The Vernon FASD Network Committee, which is comprised of professionals, health care providers, community residents and family members who are affected by or work directly with persons living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder observed Sept. 9 by holding a community event to raise FASD awareness.
The event was held in Polson Park featuring an opening prayer led by a local elder, opening remarks by Mayor Rob Sawatzky and included several extremely talented local musicians and guest speakers.
For the past 10 years, community participation and interest has continued to grow, as does FASD awareness. However, not so much as to eliminate the shame, blame and stigmatism of the issues and challenges of alcohol use. FASD is not just a health issue. It is a community issue and has long term societal and economic implications.
As a resident, you can support this community issue by learning about FASD, supporting where possible and directing women and families to the various resources available both in the community and online.
The members of the FASD Community Network Committee would very much like to thank all of our sponsors, entertainers and community for their support in realizing a successful community Fetal Alcohol Awareness Day at Polson Park.
Remember that there is no safe amount and no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy.