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Briers backs new charity

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WARRINGTON Wolves’ star Lee Briers has pledged his support to a new charity exclusively focused on accelerating treatments and cures for a devastating childhood condition.
Father of two Briers, 33, chose to get behind the new charity Rett Syndrome Research Trust UK, because of his longtime friendship with Andy Stevenson, fellow dad and father of daughter, Beth age 11, (pictured with Lee) who suffers from the condition.
Rett Syndrome is a devastating childhood neurological disorder for which there is no cure.
The condition first strikes previously healthy little girls between the ages of 6-36 months and robs them of their speech, normal movement and the ability to use their hands. Then begins the long regression that may leave her in a wheelchair. Extreme anxiety, Parkinson-like tremours, seizures and orthopaedic problems are common. Although many girls live into adulthood, all are at increased risk of sudden unexplained death.
But researchers know that Rett Syndrome is caused by mutations in a gene called MECP2. This gene makes a protein which is required for proper maintenance of brain function. Most astoundingly, recent research has demonstrated that if proper levels of the protein are restored, the symptoms of Rett Syndrome are reversed in laboratory models of even late-stage disease.
Rett Syndrome Research Trust UK was established in July 2010 as a grassroots effort by Stevenson and other families of daughters with Rett Syndrome who want to see these recent advances in research developed into treatment for this devastating condition within their own children’s lifetimes.
Since the launch of the organization in July 2010, Briers has shown his support in a number of ways, most notably by appearing in a Naked Golf Calendar for 2011, with a number of other Warrington players and former players.
He supported Andy and the charity through a recent Just Giving competition via twitter which helped win a national competition, increasing publicity for the charity, awareness of the disorder and an additional £500 for the research projects they support.
Briers said: “Having played Rugby League all my life, I can’t imagine what it must be like to have a body that doesn’t work properly and have to watch from the sidelines which is why I want to do all I can to help girls with Rett Syndrome. Andy is not only a great friend but is an absolute inspiration to me and to everybody who knows him. With his drive and determination I’m sure the charity will go from strength to strength and if I can do my little bit, hopefully we can get awareness about Rett Syndrome out there.”
For Rett Syndrome Research Trust UK, this pledge of support could not come at a better time. Briers’ team, Warrington Wolves have just won the League leaders shield for the first time in their history. Briers will be an integral part of the Welsh team who take on England, Australia and New Zealand in the Four Nations Tournament in October and November.
Commenting on Lee’s support Andy said: “I’ve been friends with Lee for many years now and he’s met Beth and understands the immense difficulties that she and all the girls with Rett Syndrome face each and every day. Rett Syndrome is not a well-known condition and as a charity, we need to increase the profile of both the disease itself and the potential for a cure in order to raise the vital funds we need to deliver treatment in a timeframe which is meaningful for Beth and all the other girls and women living with Rett Syndrome today. Lee has put his hand up to do all he can to help and for that I will never be able to thank him enough.”
Any one who would like to know more about supporting the charity contact Andy at andy@reverserett.org.uk or on 07921 123452.

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Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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