22q at the Bronx Zoo (NY UCEDD/LEND)

July 1, 2019

Rose F. Kennedy UCEDD/LEND's Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) partnered with Einstein Buddies, (a medical school service learning club), Children's Hospital at Montefiore 22q11.2 specialty clinic, Bernice Morrow's Einstein Genetics lab and Harboring Hearts to sponsor 22q at the Bronx Zoo. The International 22q11.2

Foundation started the 22q at the Zoo Worldwide Awareness Day in zoos around the world to raise awareness about the rare syndrome for the public, while providing families with an opportunity to meet each other, network with professionals, and have a good time. Individuals and their families sharing in this unique experience were brought together on May 19th to share, learn and enjoy their affinity.

Their commonalities were amplified in numbers giving voice to their differences and creating a space where their experiences are not so uncommon. Participants proudly wore their 22q at the Zoo t-shirts. This display raised awareness, provided support and created dialogue together and among fellow zoo attendees about a syndrome that is not well-known. The magical and interactive environment of the zoo was conducive to active participation among all who attend, clinicians, researchers and families alike. Being outside of the medical facility leveled the playing field bridging individuals for authentic sharing. Access to personnel on a familiar basis helped build trust for participation in research and intervention, further developing evidence and knowledge about 22q11.2