Walter M. Kennedy Elementary School celebrated Rett Syndrome Awareness Week  in honor of second grader Julie Grace, who was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome as a toddler.

Students watched videos to learn more about Rett Syndrome. After watching one of the videos a student from Patsy Lee's Kindergarten brought in $10 he had been saving from his $1 per week allowance and bought a Julie's Army of Hope Bracelet. He donated the rest of the money to fund a cure for Rett Syndrome.

Throughout the week, students participated in  various activities, including wearing purple for Rett, wearing pajamas to school, a Run for Rett fun run, and Team up for Rett where students wore their favorite team shirts. Some of the faculty had their own Team Julie t-shirts made with Julie Grace's Miracle League number on the back.

Students built a Garden of Hope with handmade flowers, listing their wishes for Julie Grace and other children with Rett Syndrome. This Garden of Hope adorned the hallways of Walter M. Kennedy Elementary.

Julie Grace has been supported and welcomed by the teachers, staff, and  students. All week the school store sold Hike for Julie/Julie's Army of Hope Bracelets. The proceeds will all go to Girl Power 2 Cure, a non-profit Rett Syndrome organization. , All together, the students raised $500 for a cure for Rett Syndrome. 

“To say we are blessed is never enough. To say thank you is never enough. Our teachers, parents and children in our school and our community step up and stand out and work tirelessly to let everyone's light shine,” said Melanie Carroll, Julie Grace’s mom.

Rett syndrome is a postnatal neurological disorder that occurs worldwide in 1 of every 10,000 to 23,000 female births across all racial and ethnic groups. While the disorder is mainly seen in girls, it can also affect boys in rare cases. Symptoms appear after a normal period of development until six to eighteen months of life, when there is a slowing down or regression of skills. Symptoms of Rett syndrome can include loss of motor skills including hand function and coordination, a decline in language skills, slowed growth, and trouble breathing. It is a lifelong condition that does not currently have a cure, but it is not a degenerative disorder.

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