May is Williams Syndrome Awareness Month! Most of you reading this have probably never heard of this rare syndrome, but hopefully by the end of this post, I will have done my job and raised your awareness! The cookies you see are the Williams Syndrome Association logo and the most recognized symbol for Williams Syndrome.
From the Williams Syndrome Association website: "Williams syndrome is a genetic condition that is present at birth and can affect anyone. It is characterized by medical and cognitive 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. It is known to occur equally in both males and females and in every culture."
"They are extremely sociable and experience the normal need to connect with others; however people with Williams syndrome often don’t process nuanced social cues and this makes it difficult to form lasting relationships."
At this point, I should explain how I came to know about Williams Syndrome. We have all had that teacher that we loved, will always remember, and look back fondly on our memories with them. One of these said teachers for me was Mrs. Smith. I can recall specific lessons she did in our English class and I will never forget when she sang during our senior slide show at graduation. She is an amazing lady. A role she fulfills just as gracefully and beautifully is her role as Mary's mother. Mary has Williams Syndrome, but this genetic disorder does not define her. She is an amazing young woman, extremely friendly and outgoing, and we even share a passion for cheerleading! While it has been some time since I have seen Mary or Mrs. Smith, I will always remember Mary in the hallways or in Mrs. Smith's classroom after school and her sweet smile and willingness to give hugs. The Williams Syndrome website goes on to explain that "children with Williams syndrome tend to be social, friendly and endearing," and this definitely describes Mary! Mary Karele, you are BEAUTIFUL, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made!.. Psalm 139:14
While I got these cookies in just under the buzzer for Williams Syndrome Awareness month, you can help raise awareness anytime. Please visit the Williams Syndrome Association website to see how you can do your part to promote awareness!