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Jeans for Genes Day: Alpraham teen appeals for support

Law student Millie Hawes suffers from spinal muscular atrophy

Millie Hawes, from Alpraham

A teenager who suffers from a rare genetic condition is encouraging people to support the national campaign Jeans for Genes Day on Friday.

Millie Hawes, who lives in Alpraham near Tarporley, has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and has been dependent on an electric wheelchair for most of her life.

The nineteen-year-old, who is about to embark on her second year at the University of Durham reading law, is hoping as many people as possible get behind Genetic Disorders UK’s 20th Jeans for Genes Day on Friday 18 September.

The annual fundraiser raises awareness of children’s genetic disorders by inviting people to don their trusty denims for work or school in return for a donation.

Millie said: “The funds raised from Jeans for Genes Day go towards the vital support and care people with genetic disorders need. Just by wearing a pair of jeans and making a donation, you too can make a difference.

“Our family never had any idea that this condition ran in the family and yet one in 40 of us carry this gene and SMA is the largest genetic killer of babies.”

Living by the motto ‘work hard, play hard’, Millie says she is having the time of her life at uni, where she has a team of people who help her with tasks like cooking and washing.

She receives regular physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions at the Neuromuscular Centre, which she says is an ‘incredible place’ because it is the ‘only place’ which can offer her the necessary support to maintain what little muscle power and movement she has.

In 2013, she raised £40,000 for charity by crossing 80 miles of the Lake District in four days, navigating the tough terrain in her wheelchair.

Completion of the challenge saw her reach the final of the Radio One Teen Hero Awards.

“I wanted to show people that having a disability does not have to define or limit what you can or can’t do,” she added.

For more information about Jeans for Genes Day, visit www.jeansforgenesday.org.

Will you be joining in Jeans for Genes day? Let us know in the comments below

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