The Polish Hockey Association’s recent Prader-Willi Syndrome Awareness event has been hailed as a fantastic success by its organisers and sponsors.
Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is rare and complex genetic disorder that affects the experience of feeling hunger, with sufferers often feeling constantly hungry no matter how much they consume. Many children with the syndrome suffer from obesity, high blood pressure and heart problems.
PHA’s special event took place on Saturday 17th September 2011, with almost 2000 people visiting the stadium at the University of Physical Education, Poznan. It was a day for the entire family to enjoy, all of whom could entertain themselves with the numerous attractions staged by the organizers. Children had the opportunity to play in inflatable castles, water balls and even get their faces painted as well as enjoying the many sporting attractions on show.
Players from the Poland men’s and women’s national teams played central role of the event, and were on hand to show off their skills. People had the opportunity to pick up a hockey stick and take part in eight different competitions, including “Beat the Goalkeeper” and “Master of Juggling”. The rewards for children who participated included everything from photos of the national teams, hockey sticks from local sponsor AMO Sports and even apples, which were aimed to promote a healthy diet.
One of the most entertaining elements of the day was the exhibition hockey match between local journalists and representatives against a collection of Polish sport stars from other disciplines. These included Olympians as well as medallists from both European and World championships. The match also featured many of current stars of Polish hockey. This match was commented by popular Radio Merkury presenter Krzysztof Ratajczak.
One well known political figure who played in the match was Bożena Szydłowska, a current Member of Parliament in Poland. Ms Szydłowska was only supposed to play the first five minutes of the match, but found herself enjoying the game so much that she refused to be substituted. In the end, she played over forty minutes of the contest!
Away from the recreational side of the event, a scientific conference and symposium of Polish Prader-Willi Syndrome Association also took place. This was attended by many families whose children are suffering from PWS.
Everyone at the Polish Hockey Association understands that this is only the beginning of the long effort to help sick children. The fight against lack of understanding will be continued, and the main organizers are aware that this is a long-term project. However, there can be little doubt that this fantastic event has served its purpose in raising awareness of the existence of this rare disease. It is hoped that there will be an even bigger impact in the future, with a second event being planned for May 2012 which it is hoped will be even bigger than the first one.
One of the main organizers of this event was a company SylwiaStyle, owned by Krzysztof Witczak, whose son suffers from PWS. Both Krzysztof and co-worker Agnieszka Witczak wanted to thank all the people who took part in this very important festival of hockey:
“We would like to say thank you to all the people who attended the event’”, said Mr Witczak. “Every person who took part in this event automatically became an ambassador of PWS. It was the first event of its type in Europe, and we are really proud of that. We would also like to thank all the organizers of this event. The truth is that many people worked very hard for this success, and it couldn’t have been done without them. Special thanks to our main partners PZU Bank and Chata Polska. Without your support we wouldn’t have been able to help the many children who suffer from PWS”.
For more information about Prader-Willi Syndrome, please click here.
Source Material: Polish Hockey Association
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