Today is Jeans for Genes Day, and it is probably one of the most anticipated days of the year for Australians. This may be because it gives us an excuse to wear jeans instead of stiff work clothes. The charity in charge, the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI), tends to fly under the radar despite the incredible work they’ve been doing for so long. In the 25 years since it began, the organisation has done incredible things for children with genetic diseases.
On their 25th birthday, we’re looking at some of the ways they’re helping children with genetic diseases live better lives.
Jeans for Genes along with CMRI have helped initiate some of the most groundbreaking medical trials to date. In partnership with Westmead Hospital, they conducted the first gene therapy clinical trial. This trial played a pivotal role in correcting the SCIDX1-deficiency, a severe immunodeficiency that affects 40-100 babies per year (otherwise referred to as the ‘Boy in the Bubble’ disease). They have also discovered gene defects that cause cleft palates, blindness, and have detected a cure for genetic liver diseases.
A $500 million campaign is currently in the works to allow free genetic testing for spinal muscular atrophy. This will allow people looking to have children to test for conditions like cystic fibrosis and Fragile X.
In 25 years, Jeans for Genes have raised approximately $60 million – and counting. On the 25th anniversary of the organisation’s opening, the CMRI is aiming to raise $25 million through donations.
Jeans for Genes also have their own line of merchandise, with funds from the merch going directly towards medical research and clinical trials. The items for 2018 include pens, yo yos, headphones and badges. Jeans for Genes has generated over $300,000 worth of funds this past week from selling merchandise, alone.
This year, the charity has collaborated with Universal Store. The brand have donated $5 from every pair of jeans sold between the 28th of July to the 3rd of August to help children fight genetic diseases, cancer, and epilepsy. They are also running a photo competition with Jeans for Genes. Participants can share photos of their best denim outfits (channelling Britney and Justin circa 2001). All entrants go in the running to win a $250 Universal Store voucher.
Jeans for Genes day has earned support from schools across Australia, and recognition for their work from all major news networks.
Keeping the Hope Alive:
With Jeans for Genes Day coming to a close for this year, preparations for next year have already begun. The hope remains that one day, all genetic defects will have a cure or a solution. We can be sure though that the CRMI and Jeans for Genes will stop at nothing until they’ve reached that goal.