10:51 Thursday 25 April 2013  Written by BIANCA CASTRO

Zumbathon to support charity of Harlow youngster

A BABY boy who died at the age of 19 months from a rare genetic condition is the inspiration behind the next fundraising zumbathon held at the Great Parndon Community Centre.

James Dowers, whose family lived in Harlow for over 40 years, died last September of mitochondrial disease - a genetic disorder affecting the cells which then fail to produce enough energy for proper cell or organ function.

Lynda Dowers, James’ grandmother, said: “James was a normal little boy until he was three months old when his immune system should have kicked in and it didn’t. He became very sick.”

The youngster spent five months in Great Ormond Street hospital and was eventually moved home. “He came home to die basically, it was terrible.” Lynda said.

Chris (25) and Emma Dowers (27) set up the Baby James Starlight Trust, now a registered charity, to raise awareness of mitochondiral disease and help other families affected by it.

Lynda added: “Starting the charity has helped, James has left a massive gap in all our lives, he was a happy child and he is missed very much.

“The charity allows us to raise awareness of this illness and raise money to help other families that are going through the same thing.”

The zumbathon has been organised by Zumba Harlow instructors Nikki B and Clare Bull after hearing about the charity. Clare said: “We were really moved by the charity and wanted to help.

“We’re hoping to raise £1,200 and will be holding a raffle on the night to boost funds. It’s going to be a fun event for a wonderful cause.”

The zumbathon will be held on Sunday, June 2 from 2pm. Tickets cost £12 or participants must raise a minimum of £12 to take part. To book tickets email info@zumbaharlow.co.uk. For more information on the zumbathon visit http://www.zumbaharlow.co.uk/zumbathon/.

Businesses who are able to donate raffle prizes to the zumbathon can contact Clare Bull on 07958727050.

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