Detroit Walk to End Hydrocephalus to be held at River Bends Park

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby-Utica News | Published September 2, 2022

 The Detroit Walk to End Hydrocephalus is in need of walkers, volunteers, donations and raffle items. It will take place Sept. 24 at River Bends Park in Shelby Township.

The Detroit Walk to End Hydrocephalus is in need of walkers, volunteers, donations and raffle items. It will take place Sept. 24 at River Bends Park in Shelby Township.

Photo provided by Joe Gray


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The annual Detroit Walk to End Hydrocephalus will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at River Bends Park in Shelby Township at the Hickory Grove Pavilion again this year.

The word “hydrocephalus” comes from the Greek words “hydro,” meaning “water,” and “cephalus,” meaning “head.” Hydrocephalus is a chronic neurological condition caused by an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within cavities of the brain called ventricles, which results in pressure on the brain. It affects more than 1 million Americans, ranging from infants to senior citizens. There is no cure for hydrocephalus, but it can be treated.

The most common treatment involves a medical device called a “shunt,” which is a flexible tube placed in the ventricular system of the brain that diverts the flow of cerebrospinal fluid to another region of the body, usually the abdominal cavity or heart, where it can be absorbed.

The event in Shelby Township will feature a 5K walk, a raffle, information about hydrocephalus, music, food and popular children’s characters Mickey Mouse, Elmo, Spider-Man and more.

In the past, raffle items have included family entertainment gift baskets, books, wine baskets, toys, small appliances, electronics and gift certificates. Last year’s event raised more than $40,000.

Registration and check-in for this year’s event will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. There will be an opening ceremony at 11:45 a.m., and then the 5K walk will begin at noon. The post-walk celebration will begin at 1 p.m., and the raffle drawings will take place at 2 p.m.

Emily Sajor, a resident of Sterling Heights, is organizing the event with her sister, Liz Allen, of St. Clair Shores, for a second year.

“We’re excited about this year’s event. You don’t have to participate in the walk to come out and have fun. Last year, we had many people who enjoyed the event, met new people and won some amazing items from the raffle,” Sajor stated in a press release.

Sajor and her sister took on the responsibility because Sajor’s son, Joshua, 6, was born with hydrocephalus and has had eight brain surgeries due to shunt malfunctions.

“Shunts have the highest malfunction rate of any medical device, so it is important to raise money for research. Every time Joshua says his head hurts or has a fever, we get worried because it could be another malfunction and possible emergency brain surgery. He’s had more brain surgeries than birthdays. Some people with hydrocephalus have had hundreds of brain surgeries. There has to be a better way to treat this condition and we are determined to help find one,” said Sajor.

Joshua has a twin brother, Jacob. Joshua was diagnosed with hydrocephalus when he was 1 week old. He has two shunts in his brain. Sajor and Joshua’s father, Jimmy Sajor, were told their son would never crawl, walk or speak. Other possible side effects were blindness, hearing loss and the inability to feed himself. He also has cerebral palsy, which impacts the right side of his body. His right hand has limited use and he uses braces on his feet to aid him in walking and running.

With years of physical, occupational and speech therapy, Joshua has surpassed the predictions and can walk, run, speak, play sports and attend school with Jacob. The twins will be entering first grade in the fall.

Joshua requires regular brain scans along with vision and hearing checks. He also has to be monitored for headaches, stomachaches and fever, which are symptoms of a shunt failure.

“He really is my miracle child. He doesn’t let anything stop him. Having a brother helps keep him motivated to try new things and work hard to do things we take for granted. He puts in a lot of work. We have had tremendous support from our friends and family, other parents of children with special needs and the Hydrocephalus Association, which is a great resource,” said Sajor.

She said their hope is a treatment without repeated brain surgeries.

“We never know when Josh will need emergency brain surgery. One moment, he’s playing, and the next, we’re being rushed to Children’s Hospital of Michigan. His neurosurgeon is Dr. Marupudi,” she said.

The Detroit Walk to End Hydrocephalus is in need of walkers, volunteers, donations and raffle items such as gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses, gift baskets, new toys, new electronics, books and other items of interest.

For more information about the Detroit Walk to End Hydrocephalus, contact Emily Sajor at (586) 839-7627 or email To sign up to be a walker or to donate, visit For more information about hydrocephalus, visit the Hydrocephalus Association website at

River Bends Park is located at 5700 22 Mile Road.