According to a story from Grimsby Live, the family of six year old Melissa Stark, who has Williams syndrome, has transformed their house into a Santa Claus themed wonderland of Christmas lights. The display was put together by her father Tristen and his friend Scott Johnson. It features over 6,000 lights and will serve as a fundraiser for the Williams Syndrome Foundation, which has helped support the Melissa and the Stark family.
About Williams Syndrome
Williams syndrome is a genetic disorder which can have a number of physical and mental impacts. It is most characterized by distinctive facial features and intellectual disability. The syndrome is linked to the microdeletion of some genetic material found on chromosome 7; only one chromosome of the pair is affected. Genes affected include LIMK1, CLIP2, ELN, GTF2IRD1, and GTF2I. Symptoms of Williams syndrome include heart defects, distinctive facial features, developmental delays, anxiety, phobias, low muscle tone, and failure to thrive. People with Williams syndrome are known for their friendly and sociable personality. They have an exceptional ability to empathize with others and have little fear of strangers. There is no cure for Williams syndrome; treatment focuses on addressing health concerns like heart defects; physical and behavioral therapy can also be beneficial. Patients often respond strongly to music and can help with anxiety. To learn more about Williams syndrome, click here.
The display includes a singing Santa figure and music. Last year the family raised £400 for the foundation and are hoping to exceed that figure with their lights display. Melissa appears to have a more severe case of Williams syndrome; she still has very little speaking ability and has trouble sleeping through the night. Her disorder is also compounded by autism and other sensory problems.
She is helped by her many siblings, and despite the limits on her verbal communication, her family knows that she loves the light display.
About the Williams Syndrome Foundation
The Williams Syndrome Foundation was first founded in 1980 with the goal of promoting and funding research and development for this rare disorder. The organization is also committed to providing aid to families that have been impacted by the disease. To learn more about the foundation’s activities, click here.