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Antioch Family organizes Walk for Williams

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Individuals with Williams syndrome have extraordinary gifts and unique challenges. But not enough people know that. During a full week of activities in May, volunteers for the Williams Syndrome Association will work hard to inform our community and others across the country about Williams syndrome.

As part of the WS Awareness Week, a Walk for Williams will take place in over 45 locations throughout the country. Locally, a walk will be held at RecPlex in Pleasant Prairie, WI, on May 6th from 9am – 11am. Melissa Rapp is organizing the local walk to help "spread the word" about Williams syndrome and raise critical funding for research programs.

Recently featured on 20/20 and MSNBC, Williams syndrome is a genetic condition that is present at birth and can affect anyone. It is characterized by medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning disabilities. These occur side by side with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music. Williams syndrome affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide – an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States. Unfortunately, as many as half of these individuals may be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. The disorder is known to occur equally in both males and females and in every culture. Proper diagnosis is critical to acquiring the medical, therapeutic and educational treatments and strategies that dramatically improve the life of an individual with WS.

Children with Williams need costly and ongoing medical care, and early interventions (such as speech or occupational therapy) that may not be covered by insurance or state funding. As they grow, they struggle with things like spatial relations, numbers and abstract reasoning, which can make daily tasks a challenge.

The Williams Syndrome Association is the most comprehensive resource for people and families living with Williams syndrome as well as doctors, researchers and educators. The WSA provides resources, support and the latest medical information to help children with WS today and throughout their lives. Awareness week activities will also help fund the Williams Syndrome Association’s medical emergency fund, which provides financial support directly to families for expenses associated with costly medical procedures for their children.

Local residents are encouraged to come out and support families affected by Williams syndrome and the
WSA. If you would like more information about this event [or to obtain a pledge form], please contact:
Melissa Rapp, 847-395-7712. For more information about Williams syndrome go to Williams-syndrome.org.

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