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WHEREAS, gastroschisis is a birth defect of the abdominal wall that causes the intestines to protrude from the abdomen; and
WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1,871 babies are born each year in the United States with gastroschisis, but several studies show that recently this birth defect has become more common, particularly among younger mothers; and
WHEREAS, many Americans living with gastroschisis have serious and debilitating conditions, including slow growth, short bowel syndrome, multiple organ transplants, and long term feeding issues; and
WHEREAS, the causes of gastroschisis remain largely unknown, and more research is needed; and
WHEREAS, Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation (AAGF) is a nonprofit that is dedicated to research, awareness, and support for patients and families affected by gastroschisis; and
WHEREAS, Avery John Rauen, the son of the founder of AAGF, passed away from gastroschisis complications on July 30, 2009; and
WHEREAS, Gastroschisis Awareness Day serves as an opportunity to increase awareness about this issue and encourage further research;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize July 30, 2018, as GASTROSCHISIS AWARENESS DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.