Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College biology classes at the Jackson County Campus are participating in the Rooted in Rare Birthday Celebration for Willow on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 9 to11 a.m. at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. The event benefits the United MSD (Multiple Sulfatase Deficiency) Foundation.
Hands-on activities about genes, DNA and cells, a birthday party for Willow Canaan, and access to the discovery center are all part of the fun. The theme for the birthday party is pirates and mermaids.
Lynn Zimmerman, science instructor at the Jackson County Campus who is spearheading the event, said that Willow’s mother established the United MSD Foundation, the first foundation for the disorder in the nation. It is a collaboration with scientists, doctors and parents connected by the disease to drive research forward and to advocate for awareness about MSD.
“The work they are doing to push forward research and to provide funds for that research is just incredible,” Zimmerman said. “Public awareness is key in all of this, of course, as that allows the foundation to attract more resources and to focus on innovative and collaborative research.”
During the event, seven interactive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M.) stations will showcase the importance of medical research, clinical geneticists, genetic counselors and many support roles in the field. Participants will be given real-world examples of how their S.T.E.M. interests can be utilized in the fast-paced, cutting-edge field of genetics.
All school-aged children are invited. Cost is $15 and includes a birthday party loot bag filled with prizes from S.T.E.M. stations and full access to the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.