NY Giants Running Back Saquon Barkley Spotlights Rare Disease 22q on Good Morning America

As part of the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” awareness project, New York Giants Running back Saquon Barkley chose 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q) as his cause to highlight!

And while that alone is an incredible gesture for the 22q community – and the rare disease community at large – Saqoun also took to Good Morning America last week to talk about it, giving this little known disease even more awareness.

Talk about a touchdown for the rare community!

What is 22q?

22q11.2 deletion syndrome or 22q (also known as Velocardiofacial syndrome/VCFS or DiGeorge syndrome) is a disorder caused by a small missing piece of the 22nd chromosome, which can affect every system in the human body.

22q can be the cause of nearly 200 mild to serious health and developmental issues in children. It is often times not diagnosed or recognized as the cause of a child’s health and/or developmental issues for years.

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Heart abnormalities that are often present from birth
  • Cleft palate
  • Distinctive facial features

Furthermore, people with 22q often experience recurrent infections caused by problems with the immune system, and some develop autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Graves disease.

My Cause, My Cleats

Each NFL team was designated a game during Weeks 13 through 15 for its players to wear cleats decorated to bring attention to charitable causes and organizations.

So when it was the NY Giants’s turn this past weekend, Saquon chose 22q, because of the personal attachment he has to it; his niece has the rare genetic disease.

“For me, my niece, Amirah who I love to death, has a rare genetic disease, called 22Q,” said Saquoun Barkley on Good Morning America. “That’s something that I’m passionate about. With the help of the NFL, and the platform I have now, I want to raise awareness. 22Q is a rare genetic disease, but it’s not very common to the general public, it’s something that I was talking about to my brother while I was in college.”

Saquoun also indicated he would be donating to to charity to help rare awareness and find a cure.

Thank you, Saquoun for using this opportunity to highlight this rare disease!

To watch the Good Morning America interview, click below! Skip to the 2:50 mark, when he talks about 22q.



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