LOS ANGELES, May 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Local families and community members from the greater Los Angeles area will gather at Ocean View Park in Santa Monica on May 20 to participate in the annual Walk for Williams in an effort to raise awareness of Williams syndrome and pay special tribute to the life of Jonathan Martinez, the nine-year-old boy with Williams syndrome who was killed in his San Bernardino classroom in April.
In the wake of his tragic passing, the Martinez family believes that increased awareness of Williams syndrome nationwide would be the best possible legacy for Jonathan.
"We want our walk to provide families and community members a place to connect with one another in a beautiful setting and just have fun," said Lori DeLeon, Chatsworth resident and mother to 10-year-old Madison, who has Williams syndrome. "We hope that in honoring Jonathan, his spirit will continue to spread happiness and awareness to all those involved, and we are simply honored to be a part of that."
The annual walk coincides with Williams Syndrome Awareness Month, a time when thousands of people across the country will be walking to raise awareness of the rare genetic condition, which occurs in about 1 of every 10,000 births in the United States. Each walk provides an opportunity for local families and community members to gather and celebrate the extraordinary gifts of their loved ones with Williams syndrome while helping to raise critical funding for medical research programs and scholarships.
"In a world where individuals are resorting to violence and taking deadly actions every day, we could all learn a great deal from those with Williams syndrome, whose most extraordinary gift is the gift of natural joy and understanding," explains Terry Monkaba, the executive director of the Williams Syndrome Association. "They really do have the ability to spread their contagious positivity and joyfulness with everyone they meet."
This year's Los Angeles–area walk is expected to attract more than 500 walkers, who will come out for a day filled with music, face painting, a silent auction and more while raising awareness for Williams syndrome and paying special tribute to the Martinez family.
For more information about the walk or to donate, please visit williams-syndrome.org/2017-santa-monica-walk-williams.
About the Williams Syndrome Association
The Williams Syndrome Association (williams-syndrome.org) is a nonprofit organization that strives to enrich the lives of individuals and families affected by Williams syndrome and similar conditions through support, research and education.
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SOURCE Williams Syndrome Association