The work of Jewish Genetic Disorders UK was explained to new supporters at a London dinner hosted by Ruth and Anthony Angel which raised £40,000 towards its screening programme.
After JGD founder and executive director Katrina Sarig addressed the gathering, Mrs Angel gave a moving talk about her son, Dr Benjamin Angel, who died of cystic fibrosis at the age of 26.
“We want to ensure that all Jewish youngsters today have the opportunity to get tested for these severe genetic disorders and so avoid the life of pain and heartache that we suffered,” she said.
JGD is trying to raise awareness of scientific advances which improve the prevention and management of genetic disorders. Synagogues and schools are among venues for its outreach work. It recently confirmed a partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital for access to a carrier test covering nine of the most severe genetic disorders, including Tay-Sachs. And it will next year establish a community screening programme for severe genetic disorders.
Research has identified more than 20 genetic disorders that are significantly more common among Jews.