Awareness 5K, family fun day set to enrich, educate

Sue Guinn Legg • May 8, 2014 at 8:51 AM

A benefit 5K run/walk and family fun day to raise awareness and funds to help children, adults and families impacted by Williams Syndrome will be held May 18 at First Christian Church on Mountcastle Drive.Known as a condition of “unique challenges and extraordinary gifts,” Williams Syndrome is a rare and mystifying genetic disorder that impacts about one in every 10,000 people. Caused by a partial chromosome deletion, it is characterized by heart and vascular abnormalities, developmental delays and leaning disabilities that often occur simultaneously with striking verbal and communication skills, fun-loving and highly social personalities and a passion for music.While families of children with the syndrome credit them with bringing joy and enhancing the perspective of all those who know them, the physical and developmental challenges of the condition are costly and long-lasting and can be life-threatening. Adults with the syndrome may require assistance with housing and employment throughout their lifetimes. May is national Williams Syndrome Month, and because the condition is virtually unknown to the public, educators and even to many doctors, awareness events are being conducted across the county. Proceeds from the May 18 event in Johnson City will go to the Williams Syndrome Association to provide programing and support to help both children and adults with the condition reach their full potential.The event will get underway at 2 p.m. with race day registration, and the run/walk will begin at 3. Teams and individual runners and walkers who wish to register in advance may do so by clicking the Johnson City link at walk4williams.org. The registration fee is $20 per person, or $50 for a team or family of up to four people.Inflatable attractions for children, a cow train, face painting, balloon twisting, Kindermusik and more will be set up at the church and will be open to the public from 3-6 p.m. Admission is free and carnival concessions including popcorn, cotton candy and Kona Ice will be available for purchase. All proceeds will be to used to enrich the lives of individuals and families affected by Williams Syndrome. More information about the event may be obtained by calling Christina Maiden at 534-3594 or emailing camedlin33@yahoo.com. For more information about the syndrome, visit www.williams-syndrome.org.Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee is recruiting volunteers to help unload groceries at post offices across the Tri-Cities during Saturday’s annual Letter Carriers Food Drive to hemp stamp out local hunger.Carried out at mailboxes everywhere by United States Postal Service letter carriers, it’s the largest food drive of the year for the regional food bank. Extra hands are needed in Johnson City, Elizabethton, Kingsport and Blountville.Kathy Smith, communications director for the food bank, said energetic youth groups and families who wish to volunteer will be especially helpful, and any time they give will be greatly appreciated. Volunteers under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult.For those who can’t volunteer, Smith sent in a reminder that everyone can help by leaving a bag of canned goods or non-perishable food items by their mailbox before the mail runs Saturday. To sign up to volunteer, call the food bank at 279-0430 or email volunteers@netfoodbank.org.It’s National Goodwill Industries Week, and special sales and tent events to celebrate Goodwill’s work to provide vocational training and job opportunities for people with employment barriers are being conducted at stores across the region.Through Saturday, orange tag sales of up to 50 percent off will be going on at each of Goodwill Industries of Tenneva’s 13 Tri-Cities area stores. A special 1950s-themed customer appreciation tent sale with discounts up to 75 percent, door prizes and more will be held Friday at the Goodwill on South Roan Street. And similar customer-appreciation events will be held at stores around the region over the next several months.Adrienne Hendon, public relations coordinator for Goodwill Industries of Tenneva, said the special sales are a way to thank customers for their dedicated help in providing employment training, job readiness and vocational assessments to over 1,000 local individuals last year.More information about Goodwill’s vocational and employment programs is available online at www.goodwilltnva.org or may be obtained by calling 245-0600.If there’s a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.

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