The last few days of summer are slipping through your fingers. We are nearing the end of another work week and the beginning of another weekend that holds the potential for adventure, time with loved ones and, admittedly, some tasks on that to-do list. But this Friday, September 18th is not just another Friday. September 18th marks another Jeans for Genes Day.

Started in 1992, Jeans for Genes day seeks to raise awareness about rare genetic disorders and raise money to help those affected. The day is organized by Genetic Disorders UK, a nonprofit committed to improving the lives of children and adults living with rare genetic conditions.

Participation is simple: pretend it’s another casual Friday, pull out those jeans and start a conversation. If this sounds easy, perhaps you would want to consider engaging in fundraising through workplace events such as sponsoring your boss to do the photocopying or coffee runs for the day. Perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to get rid of that small change that’s been weighing you down.

Of course you’re probably asking, “Well, if they’re rare, why do we care?!” Rare disorders are, by definition, themselves rare. Put them all together, however, and you’ll find they affect 1 in 10 Americans. You’ll find that they affect 350 million people worldwide. Just like members of the infertility community reach out to seek support from one another, families with rare genetic conditions hope to do the same. Organizations like Genetic Disorders UK allow these individuals and families to forge connections and gain support.

In addition to Genetic Disorders UK, Global Genes Project, a US based nonprofit, has a World Rare Disease Day on February 28th (or 29th if it’s a leap year) where people are again encouraged to don their denim to raise awareness for rare genetic diseases. If you’ll miss this day of awareness, fear not, there are more to come! So think ahead by reaching out to your workplace, your child’s school or your activist friends to organize activities for the next Jeans for Genes day. Genetic Disorders UK has some great ideas.

For now, learn more about Genetic Disorders UK, Global Genes Project or what diseases are considered rare here.


Enjoy this Jeans for Genes Day and show you care about rare!

Amber Gamma

Amber Gamma is a board-certified genetic counselor with Northwell Health in Long Island, New York. She focuses on reproductive genetic counseling in both the prenatal and preconception periods. Her professional interests include LGBT issues within genetic counseling, variant curation and genetic counseling on an international scale. Her not-so-professional interests include fitness, nature and literature.

Outside of work hours, Amber can be found roaming the streets of New York City with a book and coffee in hand, performing some poetry as part of Stageless Arts’ Open Brain events or running around somewhere like the adult child she is.