Winnipeg, Manitoba, January 23, 2023 – Local dad and philanthropist Rob Tétrault is set to run just over 500 kilometers in May to raise awareness of congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) and galvanize a transformation of Manitoba’s newborn screening program. Inspired by Canadian hero Terry Fox, Tétrault will embark on a journey taking him from the border between Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the border between Manitoba and Ontario. The event is called Run With Rob.
“Run With Rob is a charity event unlike any other,” Tétrault said. “It’s not just about the run, it’s about making a difference. The goal at the end of this is to ensure that each baby born in Manitoba is tested for cCMV. Right now, a baby born in Winnipeg has a completely different outcome than a baby born in Kenora or Regina. That’s not right.”
cCMV is the most common infection passed from mother to baby during pregnancy but just approximately 9% of women have heard of it. cCMV is also the leading cause of non-genetic hearing loss in infants and the second leading cause of infant disability. Tétrault co-founded the Canadian CMV Foundation with his wife Michelle after their son was born with cCMV in 2008.
“Right now, Manitoba implements a targeted newborn CMV screening program,” Tétrault added. “Targeted screening only identifies infants with CMV-related hearing loss at birth. As a result, other cases are left undiagnosed and babies are going without the care they require.” If a cCMV infection is detected early, antiviral medications along with other interventions can drastically improve outcomes and quality of life for those infected. However, the vast majority of cCMV cases in Manitoba are undiagnosed due to the absence of a universal screening program.
Currently, Saskatchewan and Ontario are the only two Canadian regions with a universal screening program that tests all newborns for cCMV. Run With Rob aims to “bridge the gap” between Saskatchewan and Ontario, and inspire policymakers to implement a universal screening program in Manitoba.
There are four ways you can get involved with Run With Rob:
- Register to run alongside Rob for one or more of the 24 legs
- Sign the petition in support of universal cCMV screening in Manitoba
- Become an event sponsor
- Donate to the Canadian CMV Foundation
About the Canadian CMV Foundation
The Canadian CMV Foundation is a national charity committed to preventing congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) infections and improving the quality of life for those affected in Canada.
For more information about Run With Rob or the Canadian CMV Foundation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.