December 17, 2017
 
Spina Bifida Association Names Andrew Vacca as Exec. Director

Andrew Vacca
September 22, 2017 — The Spina Bifida Association of Greater New England, a Milford nonprofit that provides educational and social programming for children, teens, and adults living with Spina Bifida, as well as their parents and families, this week announced that Andrew Vacca has been appointed executive director.

Vacca, who himself is an adult living with spina bifida, succeeded Ellen Dugan who retired after serving 12 years as executive director of the Spina Bifida Association of Greater New England (SPAGNE).

He said his near-term plan is to strengthen existing programs and services, and look for ways to make an impact on the adult population living with Spina Bifida through programming and support services.

Previously, Vacca served as a Program Coordinator for the Lift Disability Network, where he created a monthly respite program for families with various disabilities. He also served on the leadership team for Lift’s annual summer camp and facilitated and led disability awareness and etiquette training courses. In addition, he volunteered with disability nonprofits in central Florida.

Vacca earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Clearwater Christian College.

Founded in 1971 to the prevention of spina bifida and the enhancement of lives of those affected by it, SPAGNE today serves individuals and families living with Spina Bifida in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Last month, runners representing the organization raised $43,000 to support SPAGNE, which represents about 25% of its annual operating budget.

Spina bifida, which means "split spine," is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. It occurs when a baby is in the womb and the spinal column does not close all of the way. About eight babies born in the United States each day have spina bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. Conditions associated with spina bifida include mobility issues, bladder, bowel, and gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, and tendonitis.

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