A wildlife park has seen a ‘Groundforce’ style makeover in preparation for children with complex genetic conditions visiting the zoo at the weekend.
Shepreth Wildlife Park saw volunteers from Great Northern and their contracting businesses give their time for free to get ready for the event happening on Sunday.
22Q at the Zoo will see over 100 children and their families coming to Shepreth Wildlife Park for a family day out.
The event ‘22Q At The Zoo’ is staged at 10 zoos across the country by the charity Max Appeal which provides support for families with children who have the condition.
Last year The Biggleswade Chronicle brought you the story of Biggleswade train driver Mark Tripp and his son, Adam, who suffers with 22Q11 Deletion Syndrome – which is the second most common chromosome disorder after Downs Syndrome.
Mark said: “When Adam was first diagnosed we went to a 22Q At The Zoo in Whipsnade and it really helped us as a family. We were quite numb at the time but here were 150 people all there for the same reason and our children could meet and play with one another.
“We were able to find somewhere quiet at lunchtime where we could get together and learn from other people’s experiences.”
Max Appeal is raising awareness for the condition that affects some 35,000 people across the UK.
Imagine that you are the parent of a poorly child – one that suffers from a condition that could see them experiencing any combination of around 180 known medical side effects. These side effects could range from congenital heart defects or learning disabilities to hearing problems or mental health issues.
Now imagine that every time you see a health professional they look at you blankly when you tell them what condition your child suffers from.
For parents of children with 22Q11 Deletion Syndrome, this is daily life.
Starting at 7am last Friday, over 35 skilled tradesmen and women and volunteers from the train company replaced barriers, dredged out Monkey Lake and painted the enclosures in the Native Species Woodland and on Marmoset Island.
Wildlife Park Director Rebecca Willers said: “We were absolutely delighted to be asked to host the 22Q at the Zoo event this year.
“We were fortunate enough to be a part of a train naming ceremony last year when we welcome the Max Appeal for the first time, so we are very excited to be able to introduce our animals to the families once again. We have arranged animal encounter sessions throughout the day and some fun enrichment workshops too.”