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(Toledo News Now) -
A Michigan family is raising awareness for a rare condition that affects their 8-month-old daughter.
Williams Syndrome is a genetic condition that is caused by a spontaneous deletion of 26-28 genes on chromosome number 7.
"It encompasses many different medical issues, such as cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, learning disabilities, and sometimes kidney issues," explained Jackie Cousino.
When Jackie's daughter Kelsie was born, doctors noticed she had a heart murmur. At two months old, she underwent a procedure and reacted to the anesthesia. Both of these are characteristics of Williams Syndrome.
After further testing, the Cousino's received Kelsie's diagnosis.
"It was shocking," said Kelsie's father Andy. "Kind of hard to swallow. But we made due."
Kelsie suffers from cardiac issues, hernias and displays the distinct facial features of Williams Syndrome. Her growth is delayed, and other symptoms may develop in the future.
"Every time we go to the doctor they say nothing is getting worse," Andy said. "So we're just kind of letting God do his role, and hopefully she'll be one of the lucky ones where everything gets better on her own."
Kelsie could require special help for the rest of her life, but her family isn't looking at it that way.
"I don't know if it will impact our life that much more," Andy said. "We're blessed to have her."
"She's a great baby and we wouldn't trade her for the world," Jackie added.
May is Williams Syndrome Awareness Month, and on Saturday, May 18, a Walk for Williams is being held in Perrysburg. The event will be held at Grace United Methodist Church at 601 E Boundary Street, from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will also be lunch, chair massages, raffles and a silent auction. For more information, email Michelle Self at firstname.lastname@example.org.