Marlee Rae Geathers is a happy, young first-grader with an infectious smile
Marlee is one of only 500,000 people in the world with Angelman Syndrome.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Please meet the vibrant Marlee Rae Geathers. This first-grader at Beverly Woods Elementary in Charlotte loves Granny Smith apples, her younger siblings, and was born with a rare neuro-genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome.
She is the newest one of our amazing #MollysKids.
Marlee’s aunt, Ashley Washington, says about 500,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with Angelman’s. That’s not many. Most people are unaware it even exists.
Marlee’s mom, Taylor Geathers, says her daughter was diagnosed with it in August 2016, via genetic testing. Her mom is a pretty remarkable woman, and also a current Johnson C. Smith University student.
“We first identified developmental delays in Marlee at her 1-year-old-well check,” Taylor said. “With the help of her amazing pediatrician with Novant Health, were able to start the process of therapies and genetic testing. Because of that early intervention, Marlee was able to walk by two-and-a-half.”
“She remains nonverbal to this day, and takes medicine to control seizures, but is a very popular girl with friends at her school because her smile lights up every room.”
Turns out, a happy demeanor is one of the many positive attributes of Angelman Syndrome. As a medical side effect.
There is a national organization rallying for help with this rare illness, called the Angelman Syndrome Foundation.
Marlee’s dad, Kwame Geathers, a former NFL player who is currently a free agent, and Taylor, heard about this national walk back in 2018. They immediately began fundraising and went to that one, which was held in Columbia, S.C.
“But we wanted to do more,” Taylor said. “Kwame and I wanted be a voice for families with Angelman Syndrome and to offer support to others. We became coordinators for the ASF Walk in 2021, but due to COVID, had to pivot to make it virtual walk. This year is our first in-person event and we are excited to bring ‘Angel families’ from across the state together!”
They’re bringing them together here in Charlotte.
In part because of Marlee’s dedicated parents, Charlotte is serving as the host city for this 2022 National Angelman Syndrome Foundation Walk. It’s set for next Saturday, May 21, at 11 a.m. in Berewick Park.
“This will serve as the largest fundraising event for the foundation, and provide funding for ‘Angels’ and their families,” Taylor said. “It’ll also support research and studies aimed at finding a cure.”
Visit https://www.angelman.org/walk/ to learn more.
If anyone has any questions about the walk, feel free to comment below. Taylor, Kwame, and Marlee’s loving Aunt Ashley will be looking out and can help answer whatever question you pose. Again, more on that link.
Welcome, Marlee, to #MollysKids.
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