Somerset business Hippychick, which specialises in baby and toddler products, has pledged its support to raise awareness for a rare genetic condition which affects one of its employees.

Hippychick is to work in association with the Childhood Tumour Trust (CTT), a UK-based charitable organisation committed to providing support for families living with Neurofibromatosis (NF).

According to Vanessa Martin, chair of the CTT, “NF affects more than 25,000 individuals in the UK but is actually a little known about condition for which there is no cure. It can cause benign tumours to grow on the nerves and skin, as well as well causing café au lait patches and problems with bones, eyes and the nervous system”. 

Mike Bird, account manager at Hippychick, was born with NF and has also passed the condition onto his two children. Mike explained: “I have a tumour on my brain. Several lesions have recently been discovered on my seven-year-old son’s brain. My 11-year-old daughter had to undergo eight-hour surgery three years ago as a tumour in her neck started to cause signs of early paralysis. We are in and out of hospital all the time and live in a constant state of fear of the tumours further developing.”

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“In its 22-year history, Hippychick has raised many thousands of pounds for charities, particularly those where children are involved. Every year, we ask our employees to suggest charities to support”

Hippychick founder and managing director Julia Minchin

Hippychick founder and managing director Julia Minchin said: “In its 22-year history, Hippychick has raised many thousands of pounds for charities, particularly those where children are involved. Every year, we ask our employees to suggest charities to support. Mike came forward with the CTT, who have provided fantastic support to him and his family. He is a highly valued and loyal employee, and it has been heartbreaking for us to witness the effects of NF on his family over the years. It makes perfect sense for us to support CTT this year.”  

May is NF awareness month and World NF day falls on May 17. ‘Noticing Neurofibromatosis’ is designed to raise awareness of the distinctive café au lait patches – the most common and visible indicator of the condition. It is also the theme of a campaign running on Hippychick’s social media channels and website this month. Donations are invited via Hippychick’s website at Support Hippychick’s Charity of the year – Hippychick.  Throughout the rest of the year, Hippychick staff will be organising local events to raise funds for CTT. 

For further information about Neurofibromatosis, visit the CTT at Childhood Tumour Trust – Supporting children, families affected by NF1

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