Thursday, May 26, 2011

22Q at the Zoo
Raises Awareness for
DiGeorge Syndrome

L-R: David Yang, Annabelle Nash, Cecily Manson, writer Elizabeth Vidar, Dr. Pedro Sanchez

by Elizabeth Vidar
(Special to BeansTalk)
Founder and President
Zoo Magnet Community Outreach Club

When a family hears the news that their child has a little-known chromosomal deletion syndrome, the last thing they want to be is alone.

On Sunday morning, zoos all over the world celebrated "22Q at the Zoo," an awareness day for 22Q Deletion, more commonly known as DiGeorge Syndrome.

The syndrome is caused by a missing section of chromosome 22, a disorder which is present from the time of conception. 22Q Deletion can lead to many problems including cleft palate, heart defects, kidney problems, hearing loss, and developmental delays.

Dr. Pedro Sanchez, MD, Pediatric Clinical Geneticist at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and USC, took organizing the event at the Los Angeles Zoo into his own hands, inviting over 30 families to attend.

Children of varying ages and their families arrived at the zoo with smiles on their faces, and were given the opportunity to meet families going through the same thing that they are.

One family I spoke to had never been to the Zoo. Their little boy was ecstatic to see the zebras. Not only were these families given the opportunity to meet each other, they were also able to inform the public about 22Q Deletion Syndrome. Equipped with “Ask Me About 22Q” pins, and flyers with facts about the syndrome, families and volunteers spread awareness about this surprisingly common syndrome.

22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome Foundation

The International 22q11.2 Foundation