Jeans for Genes Day will support families and individuals with genetic disorders (From Braintree and Witham Times)

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A national fundraising day will help support children with genetic disorders.

Olivia Dawson, five, from Braintree, was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome when she was three years old.

Until then her parents, Stacey and Elliot, could see her development was delayed, but had no idea of the cause.

Although Olivia was slower than most babies to meet her milestones, but was not drastically behind other children, which led her parents and health visitor to think she would catch up in her own time.

Money raised on Jeans for Genes Day, on September 22, will go towards supporting individuals and families, like Olivia, affected by a genetic disorder.

Mrs Dawson said: “I remember at 16 months, Olivia was walking holding onto my hands.

“The health visitor said to watch for a few months and see how she gets on.

“By 19 months she was walking on her own but she was unsteady even at the age of two and Elliot didn’t think she was walking right.

“She only had two word sentences. She had poor muscle tone and was quite weak and floppy. She struggled to get down the stairs and had visual and spatial problems too.”

When Olivia was 24 months a visiting London cardiologist spotted facial characteristics of the genetic disorder Williams Syndrome during a routine heart check.

After checking 95 per cent of her heart the cardiologist stopped and asked about Olivia’s history and if she had any other appointments.

Mrs Dawson added: “I explained she had physio and speech therapy and developmental delays. He asked about her facial features – she has big blue eyes and a turned-up nose. I thought she looked like her Dad.

“He pieced together everything and he wrote to the paediatrician to consider Williams Syndrome and told me that would explain her developmental delay.”

Olivia was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome (WS), a rare genetic disorder which occurs randomly and is not hereditary.

For more information visit jeansforgenesday.org.