Putting spina bifda on the radar in support of Sydney Children's Hospital

Return gesture: Shanon Bates is raising money for spina bifida. Picture: John Veage

Return gesture: Shanon Bates is raising money for spina bifida. Picture: John Veage

Scans failed to reveal a hidden medical condition that left Shanon Bates in a wheelchair 39 years ago.

Mr Bates, of Oatley, was expected to be born a healthy baby, but had developed spina bifida – a congenital defect of the spine.

The disability affects about 1500 children in Australia and about 300,000 worldwide.

A total of 82 operations later, Mr Bates wants to give back to those who helped him survive the rare condition.

He is hosting a fund-raiser from midday – 4pm on October 21 at Zinc Bar, Cronulla to raise money for the Spina Bifida Clinic at Children's Hospital Randwick.

Part of the proceeds will also go towards a new racing wheelchair so he can continue to support other foundations and educate young people about his condition.

“Research has come a long way but there still are babies being born with this disability,” Mr Bates said.

“My goal is to help people who have helped me, and improve on the support services that are available.”

He also hopes to travel across Australia to deliver more talks in schools about bullying resilience, and support organisations including Black Dog Institute.

There will be an auction of prizes including sporting memorabilia such as cricket bats, a lunch at Sea Level restaurant and a Port Hacking cruise.

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