The energy in the crowd at American Family Field was electric. Everybody sat on the edge of their seat, waiting for the game to begin. If you’ve never been to a baseball game before, it’s hard to describe the feeling in the crowd: anticipation, excitement, unity. And when Kim Verdegan stepped up to the mound to throw the first pitch of the Milwaukee Brewers game, the crowd went wild in support.
Former Brewers pitcher Tim Dillard helped Kim connect to the team. He knows how special she is: not just a passionate baseball fan, but an amazing advocate for the Williams syndrome community. According to reporting from WEAU News, Kim was diagnosed in 1982 when she was just one year old. Throughout her upbringing, she faced bullying and stereotyping due to her condition. But she persevered and now hopes to bring support, kindness, and community to others.
By throwing the first pitch at the Brewers game, Kim hopes to raise Williams syndrome awareness on a grander scale. Her family also helped other families whose children have Williams syndrome attend the game. Throwing the first pitch was amazing. But even more amazing, says Kim, was seeing first baseman Rowdy Tellez wear a Williams Syndrome t-shirt to help further awareness.
About Williams Syndrome
Williams syndrome is a rare genetic disorder caused by genetic deletions from contiguous genes located on the long arm (q) of chromosome 7 (7q11.23). While many of these genetic changes occur spontaneously, there have been some reports of familial inheritance. These genetic alterations lead to prenatal and postnatal growth delays, short stature, and characteristic facial features such as a round face with full cheeks, thick lips, a broad forehead, and a short nose with a broad tip. Other characteristics and symptoms relating to Williams syndrome can include:
- Failure to thrive
- Attention deficit disorder
- Supravalvular aortic stenosis
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea and/or constipation
- Dental abnormalities (teeth that are small, widely spaced, missing, crooked, etc.)
- Microcephaly (an unusually small head size)
- Hypercalcemia (elevated blood calcium levels)
- Difficulty with visual-spatial tasks
- Outgoing, engaging personalities
- Appetite loss
Right now, there are no Williams syndrome-specific treatments or cures. Treatment focuses on symptom management.