Over £48,000 raised by GEM Appeal supporters donated to crucial Willink Unit

Date published: 15 May 2024

The GEM Appeal and patron Denise Welch have presented a £48,000 cheque to the Willink Unit, to fund another year of crucial scientific research into specific metabolic diseases in children.

The Rochdale-founded charity has so far raised millions for the unit at The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, which is the main centre in the North West for the diagnosis and treatment of all forms of paediatric inherited metabolic disorders.

The latest cheque will go towards research being done by a designated scientist, using equipment paid for by the charity.

The GEM Appeal website states: “Huge progress is being made and the team are really excited about the results already evident from the work being undertaken. Treatment now available is being perfected and children have a much brighter future due to this treatment.

“Please continue to support this vital work and help the team at The Royal Manchester Children's hospital to find cures for children and young people diagnosed with rare genetic metabolic disorders that previously devastated so many lives.

“Due to the money raised by the GEM Appeal there is now hope, please help us and support any way you can.”

The GEM Appeal was founded in the nineties by its chair and Rochdale mum-of-three, Karen Johnson, who tragically lost both of her young sons to a condition known as Hunter syndrome - a rare inherited disorder which means certain sugar molecules can’t be broken down in their bodies.

With no cure and no treatment available for the boys at the time, Simon and Mikey both tragically lost their lives at just 12-years-old after being robbed of the ability to walk, talk and eat.

The GEM Appeal has continued to grow in their memory, with its research allowing new life-changing treatments, such as enzyme replacement therapy, to be developed.

This research reduces symptoms, avoiding further complications, extending life expectancy, and giving better quality of life.

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