Smith-Magenis Syndrome

Breakaway’s Smith-Magenis Syndrome Camps enhance the lives of children with SMS and their families by holding a four-day respite camp every two years. The next camp will be held inclusive 23 May 2014 - 26 May 2014. To register your interest in attending this camp, please contact Dawn Caplin on (02) 4390 7624 or email dcaplin@breakaway.org.au

The Key Objectives of Smith-Magenis Syndrome Camps:

To celebrate the achievements of all SMS children

To give children and the siblings of children with SMS the opportunity to meet

To create an atmosphere where parents feel comfortable to discuss their situation with other parents... This often leads to the establishment of a support network that continues long after camps end

To create a nurturing environment where the families of children with SMS can enjoy a respite break together

To pamper the parents and allow 'parents only' time, whilst providing entertainment and activities for all children... Caring for a child with SMS can be very demanding and parents are often burnt-out. The aim of parents only time is to allow them to recharge their batteries (so-to-speak) and give them much need time to themselves

To provide a research opportunity for the world-leader in SMS research, Professor Ann Smith, to run a research clinic at the camp

To provide volunteer opportunities to people who want to make a meaningful contribution to the community in which they live

Information & Support for Smith-Magenis Syndrome Families

PRISMS (Parents and Researchers Interested in Smith-Magenis Syndrome) is a non-profit organisation in America dedicated to providing information and support to families of persons with SMS and fostering partnerships with professions to increase awareness and understanding of SMS. For more information, visit their website via one of the links below.

PRISMS 2012 International Conference

Held inclusive 28 June 2012 - 1 July 2012 in Denver, Colorado USA. There were many handouts and resources made available at the PRISMS 7th International Conference. You can access these via the link below. There is also a link to a brief well written article on the characteristics of Smith-Magenis Syndrome.

Give Me 5 for Kids
Australian Unity

Smith-Magenis Syndrome Camp 2012

Breakaway’s last Smith-Magenis Syndrome Camp was held inclusive 2 November 2012 - 5 November 2012.

Sponsored by the Australian Unity Foundation and Give Me 5 for Kids...

Smith-Magenis Syndrome Camp 2010

Breakaway’s fourth Smith-Magenis Syndrome Camp was held inclusive 8 October 2010 - 11 October 2010. We welcomed 14 families with children with SMS and their siblings from all over Australia and Professor Ann Smith from the USA. Professor Smith conducted a research clinic and provided the families with valuable recent research updates.

It must be said, our team of volunteers planned and conducted a fantastic respite camp, with lots of fun and entertainment for the kids and well deserved respite and relaxation for the parents. It will be warmly remembered by all.

Smith-Magenis Syndrome Camp 2008

Breakaway’s third Smith-Magenis Syndrome Camp was held inclusive 7 November 2008 - 10 November 2008. We welcomed 20 families with children with SMS and their siblings from all over Australia. Not a bad turn out considering there were only 48 recorded cases of SMS in Australia when this camp was on. The ages of the children that had SMS ranged from three to nineteen years of age.

The camp was another resounding success, due to the dedication of our wonderful Breakaway team volunteers and staff members. Over 70 part-time and full-time volunteers provided four days of respite for the entire families. Our volunteers filled many roles, including: one-on-one carers, co-ordinators, parents hosts, sibling companions, kitchen and laundry helpers. The camp would not have been possible without the help of these volunteers.

We also heartedly welcomed back Professor Ann Smith from the NIH (National Insitute of Health), USA on her third trip to our SMS camp. During her visit, she held a research clinic. She was also joined by two American SMS parents, Mary Beall and Gail Kopp, who assisted her with the clinic. They were affectionately known as 'Team USA' and provided valuable information sessions and insights to our campers.

While the camp was on, we were also visted by NBN Television - Newcastle, who filmed a story for our local news. The footage shows extended coverage of Jodie Pearson from our video above along with her husband Andrew and family.

Below are testimonials from some of the families that attended this unique camp

"As always the degree of organisation is amazing! The spirit of staff and volunteers is second to none. Thank you Breakaway for delivering service to our SMS families with love."

Kate Tye, Sydney NSW

Kate Tye Family, Sydney

"We were very impressed with how the SMS carers managed. The camp was amazingly organised. The people were fabulous, committed and supportive."

The Caddy Family, Canberra ACT

Caddy Family, Canberra

"Once again it was another successful SMS camp. Our children were taken care of 24/7 by such wonderful giving volunteers. To access Team USA expertise and to spend quality time with parents going through exactly the same situation as we are, thank you we are eternally grateful."

Jodie & Andrew Pearson, Matcham NSW

Jodie & Andrew Pearson Family, Matcham

"We as a family enjoyed and loved the camp!!! What Breakaway does for the SMS families is fantastic. You should be all commended for ALL your efforts and dedication. Being a first timer and meeting the other families was so beneficial. As you know, we are not supported a great deal from the medical professionals as they haven't even heard of SMS, so coming to this camp where everyone is in the same boat was so educational and just a relief for us."

The Eris Family, Sydney NSW

Eris Family, Sydney

"Not sure how you could improve it, you did a great job. Please let all the volunteers know that for our family to feel so cared for and supported and understood gives us the energy to go on."

Mary Storch, Sydney NSW

Mary Storch Family, Sydney

"Breakaway is a most amazing experience. The generosity and compassion of the volunteers is astounding. We can't thank you enough for making us feel so special."

The Patrick Family, Coraki NSW

Patrick Family, Coraki

"It was such a privilege to be able to attend and meet everyone, to be able to speak to the other parents; words really can't describe how much it meant to us. We were so overwhelmed and can't believe that this type of camp exists. We had finally found other people who understood exactly what we go through every day."

Mathew and Michelle Carr, Adelaide SA

Mathew & Michelle Carr, Adelaide

We thank the many individuals and organisations that supported this camp, including; Bayline Industries, Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres, GK Brown & Co, LWM Group and The Ian Potter Foundation.


If you would like further information about SMS camps, please contact Dawn Caplin on (02) 4390 7624 or email dcaplin@breakaway.org.au

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