Staff to wear denim for worthy cause

Daniel will be at the event to help raise awareness of the condition.
Daniel will be at the event to help raise awareness of the condition.

Colleagues at a local business are set to participate in a fundraising effort in aid of a condition that affects around one in every 10,000 people.

The staff at Glenwell Spar in Glengormley will be wearing jeans to work on Friday, September 22 to raise money for the Williams Syndrome Foundation.

The condition is characterised by a number of serious medical issues including congenital heart defects, learning difficulties and development delays.

The Jeans for Genes fundraising effort has added significance for Claire Bell, a team leader at the Antrim Road store.

Claire’s 22-month-old son Daniel was diagnosed with William’s Syndrome a week before his first Christmas.

Speaking to the Times, Claire explained: “We had no idea of Daniel’s Williams syndrome condition before he was born.

“He got his diagnosis after me and my husband, David, noticed he had prolonged jaundice at five weeks old.

“He spent a week in Antrim Area Hospital getting test after test and then we were sent over to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for another week of more tests and a biopsy performed on his tiny body.

“Both hospitals performed genetic blood tests and we received his WS diagnosis a week before his first Christmas.”

The event next month will not be the first time Claire has raised funds for the Williams Syndrome Foundation.

Claire said: “My husband and I hosted a charity fundraiser last year through a charity football match and an auction evening.

“We raised £5,175 for the Williams Syndrome Foundation. It relies solely on fundraisers and donations.”

She added: “The money raised helps support families like us, by bringing us together with other families who have a child with WS.

“It also helps provide respite for families with a child with WS. The money helps fund research into this rare genetic condition as so little is known about it. There is so much to learn and hopefully more research will help Daniel in the future.”

Claire and her family are originally from the Newtownabbey area. They now live in Carrickfergus.

Commenting on the upcoming event, Claire stated: “This year Glenwell Spar is holding its first in-store charity day for jeans for genes as the Williams Syndrome Foundation has been so lucky to have been chosen as one of their official charities for this year’s campaign.

“When the Williams Syndrome Foundation was chosen as an official charity for this year’s jeans for genes day, we jumped at the chance to help raise vital awareness and funds for such a wonderful cause and charity.”

Encouraging people to get behind the campaign, Claire said: “Please join us at Eurospar Glenwell, 290 Antrim Road in Glengormley on Friday, September 22.

“Pull on a pair of jeans and help us raise more awareness and vital funds for kids like Daniel and Glengormley girl, Hollie Rose who also has Williams Syndrome. Thank you.”

The Times understands both children will be in the store on the day to help raise funds and awareness of the condition.

For more information about Williams Syndrome, check out the Williams Syndrome Foundation site