TROY, Mich., May 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Throughout the month of May, Williams Syndrome Awareness Month, thousands of people across the country will be walking to raise awareness for the rare genetic condition while paying a special tribute to the life of Johnathan Martinez, the nine-year-old boy with Williams syndrome who was killed in his San Bernardino, California, 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.
Rebekah Pagis, Walk Coordinator for Boston and mother to three-year-old Joachim, who has Williams syndrome, explained, "Each of the local walks across the country will give the Williams syndrome community a place to gather for a good cause and pay tribute to the Martinez family's wishes."
A total of 36 cities across the United States will participate in various events bringing thousands of families and friends of those affected with Williams syndrome together to raise awareness of the genetic condition that occurs randomly in about 1 of every 10,000 births in the United States and remains virtually unknown to the general public, educators and many doctors.
"Williams syndrome does not have the awareness that autism or Down syndrome has among Americans," said Terry Monkaba, Executive Director of the Williams Syndrome Association. "Williams syndrome can cause a wide range of challenging issues that are present from birth like developmental delays, learning disabilities and mild to life-threatening cardiovascular complications."
"Our Walks for Williams celebrate the gifts our children bring into the world, and raises awareness and funding for critical programs to help save lives and provide brighter futures for those with Williams syndrome," said Monkaba.
For more information on activities planned for Williams Syndrome Awareness Month, local Walks for Williams in your area or to donate, please visit williams-syndrome.org/williams-syndrome-awareness-month-3.
About the Williams Syndrome Association
The Williams Syndrome Association 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