The Midwest Brachial Plexus Network, Inc. (MBPN) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization aimed at providing support, information, resources and awareness to those affected by Brachial Plexus Injury. The MBPN was formed in 1999 by KC Metro Area families who all had children born with Obstetric Brachial Plexus Injuries. A common issue was the frustration we each encountered trying to find out how the injury occurred and what steps we needed to take to help our injured children. We all agreed that families needed a readily available source of information, resources and support so they didn’t have to waste precious time looking for answers that were difficult to find. We also felt that the medical community needed to become more aware of this injury, how to prevent it, and how to treat it when it does occur.
Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI) occurs due to trauma during the birth process and may result in one or both of an infant’s arms being partially or fully paralyzed. The nerves of the brachial plexus leave the spinal cord at the neck and innervate the shoulder, arm, hand and fingers. Injury to the nerves of the Brachial Plexus can cause a varying degree of disability, depending on the extent and location of the injury. Mild stretch injuries may resolve with proper treatment, while severe injuries may cause permanent disability, even with proper treatment. Traumatic injury to the Brachial Plexus can also happen later in life, resulting in a transient or permanent disability.
A major project for the MBPN is our annual MBPN Summer Camp Session for children with BPI and their families. Since 2001, BPI families from across the country have travelled to the Rotary Club Youth Camp in Lee’s Summit to enjoy a weekend of fun, relaxation and friendship with us. Families of the MBPN, our volunteers and supporters work hard during the year to raise funds so we can hold camp at no charge to the families attending. We greatly appreciate the Rotary Club Youth Camp and the help of our supporters, as we couldn’t provide this gift to our families without you.
Mike and Beth Gehring