• About Us

    About Us

    What we offer:

    • Emotional support for everyone affected by Spina Bifida, including meetings at numerous local cluster support groups throughout the state.
    • The Evergreen newsletter, which details local SBAWS activities, provides news on medical, therapeutic, rehabilitative advances, recreational and legislative issues.
    • Our website here and our toll-free contact number: 1-888-289-3702
    • Social events for children, teens and adults to gather, have fun and share their life experiences.
    • New Parents Packets to help parents learn about Spina Bifida and to help manage their child’s health care needs.
    • Educational scholarships may be awarded for educational purposes.
    • Access to national’s Insights magazine and to other current information on Spina Bifida.
    • A limited equipment fund to assist people with mobility devices, medical supplies and other necessary items not covered by insurance, as well as computer purchases.

Our Executive Director

Starting April, 2018, I resigned from the SBAWS Board of Directors to be appointed by the Board as the current Executive Director of the SBAWS. Previously, I was the Co-leader of the Seattle Cluster. Since 2006, as the Seattle Co-Leader, I planned bi-monthly play dates and Parent's Day/Night Out (switching from one to the other month after month), and an annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch in October. As Executive Director, I help plan 4 annual events each year in the Puget Sound area, including the Fall Conference, December Holiday Party, Walk-N-Roll and Summer Picnic for 75-150 guests. Before my involvement with SBAWS, I was active with the Spina Bifida Association of Colorado where I also managed the Adopt-a-Ghost program and planned group activities for school age children with Spina Bifida. Term Ends: 2022
Nicole Williamson
Executive Director

Our Officers

I have spent 40+ years in a variety of educational leadership positions. I spent many years as a Director of Special Education and principal of numerous elementary schools. I spent the most recent years of my career as President and Executive Director of a unique nonprofit school and program in the Seattle area. In addition, I am the parent of an adopted son who was born addicted to several drugs and required many intense services and much support in his younger years. As a result of my passion, years of professional work, advocacy for my son, and variety of experiences, I have the rare ability to look at educational issues and concerns regarding children/families from a wide array of perspectives. I am an expert in facilitating peaceful discussion and resolution of disputes/disagreements among parents, school personnel, and professionals. I have also worked tirelessly to develop creative, effective and successful educational options for students. Over my 36 years working in Washington, I have become very knowledgeable of the many public and private schools and programs available in the Puget Sound area. I have supported many families in determining and negotiating the most effective school placement for their child. I am originally from Ohio, and completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan. I completed graduate studies and post masters work at Wayne State University, Columbia University, and Seattle Pacific University. I have served on boards of several nonprofit organizations serving children with needs, and also continue to consult with schools and organizations. Term Ends: 2022
Ruth Hayes-Short
President
I have been involved with SBAWS since 2005, and served many years as the Newsletter Editor. Most recently I completed a two year term as President. I first joined the organization to help support my nephew Michael, who was born with Spina Bifida and is now an adult. Throughout my involvement with SBAWS, this organization and its members have been a source of inspiration and encouragement for Michael and those of us who love him. SBAWS has taught us so much and has been an instrumental part of Michael's childhood and transition to adulthood, so it is important to me to stay involved and keep SBAWS going strong. I work at Lewis-Clark State College as an IT manager and have an Associate's degree in Web Development, Bachelor's degrees in English Literature and History, and a Master's degree in Public Administration. Term Ends: 2022
Celeste McCormick
Past President
I am the mother to 4 beautiful children, Tristram, Ariel, Balin and Kelahna. Kelahna is our youngest and she was born with spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and Arnold Chiari Malformation. Kelahna is such a blessing to our family and we are so proud of her for all that she has overcome. I have a Bachelors degree in Psychology and have been working in criminal justice for the past seven years. Prior to working in criminal justice I was a counselor for dual diagnosed developmentally delayed adults. I am actively involved in the Boy Scouts of America and have been a den leader for 8 years. Term Ends: 2021
Amy Miller
Vice President
I reside in Benton County and I am the mother to one child who also has Spina Bifida. My experience with children started in 1999 and ranges from coordinating events for orphanages in Korea, assisting in a children’s homes in Austin, TX, and being a teacher’s aide tutoring students with disabilities in college and in kindergarten. I have a certification as a Medical Assistant from Kaplan College, an Associate of Arts and Science degree from Columbia Basin College, and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration degree from American InterContinental University (AIU). I served in the United States Air Force as an Engineering Technician (EA). I also spent many years working with the United States Postal Service. Now that I am a mother I still have a passion to see the world and plan to take my new blessing in life, Adam, along for the ride. Term Ends: 2022
Erica Nunez
Secretary
I joined the SBAWS Board of Directors in January 2020. I bring to the board a strong background in communications, outreach and advocacy. I hold a bachelor’s degree in political science, a law degree, and master’s degrees in ecology and international and comparative law. Originally from Yakima, Washington, I currently live in Auburn with my son Malachi, who was born with Spina Bifida in January 2018, and my husband Jason. I work for the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce and I am a member of the Parent Institute for Engagement (PIE) Class of 2020, a 12-month leadership program, operated by the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities and complex medical needs. Term Ends: 2022
Whitney Stohr
Newsletter Editor

Our Directors

I am originally from the east coast. I received a bachelors degree in social work from Buffalo State College, in Buffalo, New York in 1999. I have been involved with Spina Bifida chapters throughout the country. In 1999, I assisted with planning the community events for the Spina Bifida Association of Western New York. From 2001 to 2006, I was the Treasurer for the Spina Bifida Association of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Since moving to Richland, Washington in 2007, I have been an active member in my community serving on several committees advocating for individuals with disabilities helping them to live independent. I am also a motivational speaker, writer and blogger. Using my personal experiences, I teach people how to overcome obstacles in life. In 2010, I wrote a children’s adventure book called “Super Cyclist” about a superhero who uses a hand cycle to protect people. I use the book to teach children to believe in themselves. I have a blog, “SKILLS: Share Knowledge of Independent Living and Learn Skills” which has a variety of stories about my personal and professional experiences with independent living. I have also written an article for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “Workplace Communication Tips for People Living with Mental Illness” and an article for Exceptional Parent, “Transitioning Into Residential Living: Independent Living At a Whole New Level“. I am also very strong believer in volunteering. In 2010, I received a GOLDEN HEART AWARD for Outstanding Volunteer from the Benton Franklin Volunteer Center. I can be reached at dave12@gmail.com or through my website SuperCyclist.com. Term Ends: 2022
I grew up in Ames, Iowa where I participated in Spina Bifida Association of Iowa (SBAI) events in support of my niece born with Spina Bifida, Emmie. I graduated from Iowa State University in Biological Systems Engineering and Global Resource Systems with a minor in Spanish. I currently work on water and transportation projects as a Civil Engineer for HDR in Olympia. In my free time, I love spending time with (or FaceTiming) my niece, cooking, traveling, playing volleyball, and spending as much time as possible in the beautiful outdoors of Washington State. Term Ends: 2021
Rachel Bernhard
My wife and I have 5 wonderful children. Tristram, Ariel, Balin, Kelahna, and Percival. Kelahana was born with Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus, and Arnold Chiari Malformation. Kelahna is an amazing little girl with strength and determination that inspires me every day. I completed my Bachelors degree in Dental Hygiene in 2002 and my doctorate in Dental Surgery in 2014. I am actively involved in the Boy Scouts of America and enjoy doing community outreach providing free dental care to those in need. I just recently participated in RAM (Remote Area Medical). In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family. Term Ends: 2021
Tim Miller
I’m 45yrs old. I was born with Spina Bifida. I am here to help people with Spina Bifida learn to live better lives. I am still trying to figure things out, but now I know I’m not alone.
Daniel Bourland

Our Volunteers

Bio Info Will Be Added Shortly
Justin Renney
Photographer
I’m in my 30s and I have Spina Bifida. I have been working with computers for well over a decade now and have more recently started working with webpages. In 2019 I decided to volunteer for the SBAWS and help to create a new updated website. I appreciate all the experience I am getting and connections I have made through the SBAWS and I love to support everything they do. Connect with me over on LinkedIn.
Bio Info Will Be Added Shortly
Tristram Miller
Treasurer Intern
I’m in my 30s and I have Spina Bifida. I have been working with computers for well over a decade now and have more recently started working with webpages. In 2019 I decided to volunteer for the SBAWS and help to create a new updated website. I appreciate all the experience I am getting and connections I have made through the SBAWS and I love to support everything they do. Connect with me over on LinkedIn.
Jon Tutt
Retired Board Member