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Reggio & Co. Preschool In Hunt Valley Rallies Around Family Whose Sons Have Rare Gene Mutation

HUNT VALLEY, Md. (WJZ) -- One Baltimore County school community is raising awareness about a rare genetic disease and rallying behind two of its students who were born with a specific gene mutation.

This week at Reggio Preschool, every day is a learning opportunity. It's also a time to show a little school spirit, hence the tie-dye T-shirts.

"Our mission is to make sure that every child reaches their maximum capabilities," said Candice Schoolman, Founder and CEO of Reggio & Co. and the school principal.

The mission is what inspired a week dedicated to learning about and support two of her sweet students, Elliott and Holden Baird.

Both were born with the rare neurogenetic syndrome call MECP2. It's caused by a duplication of a gene on the X-Chromosome.

And for Holden and Elliott, it affects their speech and mobility.

"The kids, I mean, I have chills. The kids know who Holden is, what he likes, what he doesn't like and they know that immediately. The same with Elliott," Schoolman said.

Holden is 5. Elliott is 3. And like many of their classmates, they love trucks.

So each day, a different truck came to school. UPS, fire, even a police cruiser.

And Friday, of course, it's a snow cone truck.

Decorations bring light to an otherwise unknown disease.

And Reggio parents share the love by spreading awareness on their cars too.

"When I pulled up on Monday, I was first of all completely surprised and then I just started crying," said Andrea Baird, the boys' mother.

She and her husband, Stephen, said the outpouring of support for their family is overwhelming.

"And it's really helpful for us to create awareness and let the kids know and learn how to communicate with our kids," Stephen Baird said.

"It was just so humbling to see all of the work that this community has put into this week and just show us how much that they love our boys," added Andrea Baird.

In addition to making this week special for the Baird family, the school has also raised more than $1,300 for the MECP2 Duplication Foundation. If you're like to learn more or about how to donate, visit


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