Cure for Carlee - Inaugural event raises funds for Spinal Muscular Atrophy research

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It only takes one visit with four-year-old Carlee Beam to be enamored by her spirit for life and in awe of the joy she spreads wherever she goes. A new community event will celebrate that spirit while raising funds for a very important cause.

Carlee has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, Type II, but her wheelchair does nothing to limit her ability to bring happiness wherever she goes.

“Sometimes life is about expectations, and when those expectations are not met, you have to readjust your thinking,” said Carlee’s mom, Kelli Beam. “Our family has learned to embrace the challenges we encounter and try our hardest to make the world a little better at the same time.”


One of the ways the Beams hope to make the world a better place is by raising awareness to SMA and its horrible effects. Carlee’s Big SMA Shoot Out, presented by title sponsor Premier Orthopaedics, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Nashville Gun Club, located at 1100 County Hospital Road. 

Gold sponsors for the event include Newk’s, Dickson Farmer’s Co-op, Granite Retirement and Regen Tax, LLC.  All proceeds from the event will go directly to Families of SMA, an international support group and research center.

The fun-packed day will include a skeet shooting course, sporting clays, lunch, fun shots, silent auction, entertainment and great prizes for the shooters. Tickets are $150 for a single shooter or $750 for a five-shooter team. Participants can register at


SMA is a motor neuron disease. The motor neurons affect the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control and swallowing. It is a relatively common “rare disorder”: approximately 1 in 6,000 babies born are affected and about 1 in 40 people are genetic carriers.

SMA affects muscles throughout the body, although the proximal muscles (those closest to the trunk of one’s body) are often most severely affected. Weakness in the legs is generally greater than in the arms.  Sometimes feeding and swallowing can be affected. Involvement of respiratory muscles (muscles involved in breathing and coughing) can lead to increased tendency for pneumonia and other lung problems. Intellectual ability is normal and it is often observed that SMA patients are unusually bright and sociable. Patients are generally grouped into one of four categories, based on certain motor milestones.

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