Fundraiser on Saturday for Struthers girl with rare genetic disorder

STRUTHERS — When 8-year-old Emily Guerriero goes to the grocery store, she greets every person she sees.

Emily, a second-grader at Struthers Elementary School, has Williams syndrome, a rare genetic condition.

Individuals with Williams syndrome are highly sociable and emotionally expressive.

Like many people with the syndrome, Emily adores music. She loves to dance, especially to “Sorry” by Justin Bieber.

The condition, which is equally present in both males and females, occurs in only one in 10,000 people worldwide.

Emily’s parents learned their daughter had Williams syndrome when she was 18 months old. Emily’s doctor had noticed a heart murmur. Cardiovascular problems often accompany Williams syndrome.

When Emily’s mother, Karen, first heard the term “Williams syndrome,” she had no idea what it was.

“I go into panic mode because you immediately think the worst,” Karen remembered. “You think of every horrible possible thing that you’ve ever heard in your life.”

Since her daughter’s diagnosis, Karen has filled binders with research into the developmental disorder.

Since May is Williams Syndrome Awareness month, Karen is sponsoring a free community event Saturday in Emily’s honor. The event will take place from noon to 4 p.m. at Struthers Parkside Church, 110 Poland Ave.

For the complete story, read Tuesday's Vindicator and

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