Fundraiser to help cure Williams Syndrome a hit

  • At the recent fundraiser hosted by Jenny Callen, left, Prairie House Owner Tara Joseph gives Callen a hug.

    At the recent fundraiser hosted by Jenny Callen, left, Prairie House Owner Tara Joseph gives Callen a hug. Courtesy of Margaret Van Duch

  • Friend Lindsey Wettle, left, greets Jenny Callen at her fundraiser. The event raised $400 to help cure Williams Syndrome.

    Friend Lindsey Wettle, left, greets Jenny Callen at her fundraiser. The event raised $400 to help cure Williams Syndrome. Courtesy of Margaret Van Duch

 
Submitted by Margaret Van Duch

More than 50 people came out to a fundraiser at Prairie House Tavern to support Buffalo Grove's Jenny Callen, 19, on her quest to help cure Williams Syndrome, a genetic condition she was born with. Her efforts raised $400.

One in 10,000 people worldwide experience Williams Syndrome, according to the WS Association. Williams Syndrome is characterized by medical problems including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning challenges. These often occur side-by-side with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music. Many babies have life-threatening cardiovascular problems. Children with WS need costly and ongoing medical care and early interventions (such as speech or occupational therapy) that may not be covered by insurance or state funding. As the children grow, they struggle with things like spatial relations, numbers, and abstract reasoning, which can make daily tasks a challenge, according to the association's website.

Jenny, who is currently in the Stevenson High School Transition Program, wanted to help families who experience Williams Syndrome, by inviting her friends and families to Prairie House Tavern to dine out. In return Prairie House would give back 20 percent to support the Williams Syndrome Association.

"I want to give back to the organization so maybe they can find a cure one day," Callen said. "This is my first fundraiser. People came to the fundraiser because they love me and the person that I am." She added, "I want to change the world. I want to bring happiness to people through charitable organizations."

Prairie House Tavern owner Tara Joseph, along with husband, Josh, believe strongly in supporting these fundraisers.

"We believe in giving back to our community and what a great way to do this through our giveback program at Prairie House," Mrs. Joseph said. Tara and Josh Joseph live in Buffalo Grove, which is where the restaurant is located.

"I truly believe in community and I applaud the Josephs for incorporating this into their business strategy," said Jenny's mother, Donna Callen.

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