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Community & Business

6 August, 2021

Jeans for Genes

Jeans for Genes Day has once again come around, and while a large amount of the state is in lockdown, local fundraiser, Jenny Johnston, wants to remind people why it’s still important as ever to keep doing our part.

By Emily Middleton

“One in 20 children are affected by a birth defect or genetic disease like cancer, cystic fibrosis and autoimmune diseases. Generations of children will benefit from the financial support provided today to help researchers continue their work,” said Mrs Johnston.

Although results may not be visible as soon as money has been donated, reflecting back to see how far we’ve come significantly highlights the change fundraising has made. Gilgandra has followed local four-year-old Bridie Jordan’s journey from the beginning.

Bridie was born with Mainzer-Saldino syndrome, a rare genetic condition causing retinal degeneration and end-stage kidney disease. There are only 20 known cases in the world.

While Bridie is now thriving after receiving her new kidney and ongoing treatment, this was not the case over 60 years ago. Mrs Johnston’s brother, Bruce, passed away at the age of nine, after needing a kidney transplant that was not possible 61 years ago.

While cures may still take decades to find, children who are born with birth defects or genetic diseases are increasingly able to live longer and happier lives.

Jeans for Genes Day was started in Australia in 1994 by the Children’s Medical Research Institute as a way to support families and children with birth defects or incurable genetic diseases. The day encourages children and the community to join in fundraising by wearing jeans and making a donation.

“Gilgandra businesses have once again embraced our fundraising with Jeans for Genes merchandise boxes displayed on their counters, and their continued support is a big part of our success each year,” said Mrs Johnston.

Last year, Gilgandra residents raised a record amount of $10,000, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This was due to efforts by local schools and individuals including Lynnette Ridges, who will again be making the Jeans for Genes cupcakes this year.

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