Family of 8-year-old killed in school shooting hoping to raise awareness of syndrome boy had

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Eight-year-old Jonathan Martinez endured a lot in his short life. He had heart surgeries and lived with developmental delays. He was born with a rare genetic condition called Williams syndrome.

“The family wants, in the memory of Jonathan, for the nation to be aware and conscious of what Williams syndrome is,” Superintendent Dale Marsden said.

While grieving their only son, Martinez’s parents asked the superintendent of San Bernardino City Unified to tell the world about the syndrome that landed their boy in the special needs classroom where he was fatally gunned down.

“Unlike disorders that can make connecting with your child difficult, children with Williams syndrome tend to be social, friendly and endearing,” Marsden explained.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for funeral costs and for meals for Johnathan’s family. Donations soared to more than seven times the goal of $10,000 by Tuesday  night.

The Williams Syndrome Association released a statement on the family’s desire to bring awareness to the rare and potentially fatal disease. It’s estimated only 25,000 people in the US are living with Williams syndrome.

“In a world where individuals are against one another and taking deadly actions every day, we could all learn a great deal from those with Williams syndrome whose most extraordinary gift is the gift of natural joy and understanding, and their incredible ability to share their joy with everyone they meet.”

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