BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Thousands will visit the Maryland Zoo this weekend to see the animals and raise money for the Kidney Foundation of Maryland.

It’s part of WJZ‘s Continuing Community Commitment.

As Gigi Barnett reports, one Baltimore County family says the walk stepped right in after a heartbreaking diagnosis.

“I feel very blessed because he doesn’t have many memories of that time,” Karyn Shackelford said of her son Carter Shackelford.

Karyn Shackelford vividly remembers the day doctors told her there was something wrong with her unborn baby. It was supposed to be a routine check-up.

“It took them a while to come back and talk to us and figure out what was going on. So, we sat there and panicked for a couple of hours,” Karyn Shackelford said.

Doctors diagnosed her baby with posterial urethral valves. It happens when extra tissue grows on a boy’s urethra. The condition blocks the flow of fluid in the area and sometimes causes organ damage, especially to the kidney.

It occurs in one in every 8,000 boys, and doctors recommended fetal surgery for Karyn Shackelford’s unborn baby. It worked, but on the second try.

“At 24 weeks. A week later, we went back in and we did it again. We were really lucky. The procedure held that time,” she said.

Her “baby” Carter is now almost five, and this weekend, Karyn Shackelford plans to walk in honor of him in the Baltimore Kidney Walk.

The money raised benefits the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland.

“He’s doing fantastic right now and really not try to focus too far into the future,” she said.

The Shackelfords started attending the walk before Carter was born. It was a chance to meet other families in the same situation. Now, this year, they’ve raised nearly $3,000 for the foundation.

WJZ is a proud sponsor of the Baltimore Kidney Walk. More than 2,000 walkers are expected for the 1.6-mile trek. It starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday at the Maryland Zoo.


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