Rare Diseases South Africa (RDSA), in conjunction with the Genetic Alliance South Africa (GA-SA), are supporting those affected by rare diseases or at risk of genetic disorders by hosting a Denim Walk.

The event is taking place on 23 February 2019 at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens to raise funds and awareness for International Rare Disease Day and World Birth Defects Day on 28 February and 3 March respectively.

The day kicks off at 11am with the option of a run or walk on either the shorter wheelchair-friendly route, or the longer hiking trail.

The ‘Denim Walk’ is aimed at increasing the visibility of rare diseases and congenital disorders among the public and connecting the community, patients, their families, and support groups, to raise funds and awareness for both causes.


The CEO and founder of RDSA, Kelly Du Plessis says, “The initiative, Genes4Jeans, is a natural fit – both are universal, come in pairs and are unique to the individual. The blue denim genes ribbon is an ideal symbol that expresses solidarity and a powerful way to raise awareness for rare and genetic disorders. Blue is the colour of strength and the blue jeans denim ribbon is a simple concept that anyone can embrace.”

Participants are encouraged to stay after the walk and relax in the picnic area. A market, including arts and crafts stalls and food stands will offer visitors an area to relax, indulge in a culinary spread and browse an array of collectables.

The public is encouraged to get involved by purchasing tickets from the Rare Diseases South Africa website, costing adults R100 per entry and R50 for children under 12. For kids under 6-years-old, entrance is free of charge.

T-shirts will also be on sale to further drive crowd-funding for Rare Disease Day and World Birth Defects Day.