Florida students recognize KS awareness
For the second year in a row, the Marco Island Academy in Florida turned purple around Kleefstra Syndrome Awareness Day in September, and students sold KS Awareness bracelets, held a Big Purple bake sale and accepted donations to raise money for IDefine. The effort was spearheaded by 78 members of the school’s Key Club and embraced school wide. In all, the students raised $1,082.
Lori Galiana, the faculty advisor to the Key Club, presented a check for IDefine to Matt and Maria Lockwood, the parents of 5-year-old Wynne, who has KS, when their family visited the school on Dec. 9.
“The students have really embraced and connected to this effort,” said Galiana. “We showed the students a video about Kleefstra Syndrome, they’ve explored the IDefine website, and they’ve seen Wynne’s progress, they know her story.”
The students became aware of KS through Marie Lynn and Ray McChesney, Wynne’s grandparents. Marie Lynn is an advisor to the Key Club through the Kiwanis.
“We love Mrs. McChesney – I think of her as another grandma – so once we learned about Wynne we would do anything to help and got the school involved,” said Taylor Drott, a senior at Marco Island Academy and president of the Key Club. “Once everyone met Wynne last year and saw the impact we could make, they wanted to do it again. We didn’t bring it up, people were asking us when Wynne was coming back.”
The Lockwoods traveled from their home in suburban Detroit for the visit during which Wynne mingled with students (many wearing purple) during their lunch hours saying hello, asking students their names, posing for pictures and saying thank you.
In addition to the check, the school also presented Wynne and her sister, Josie, 8, with gift bags and purple cookies.
“It’s really heartwarming to see how much these high school student’s care,” said Maria. “Wynne remembered our visit to MIA last year and was so happy to see her friends again. The students really are an inspiration.”