How William’s Syndrome is connecting a grieving family to an exceptional Davenport man

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DAVENPORT-- Nationwide sympathy is pouring out for 8-year-old Jordan Martinez, the young student with William's Syndrome that was killed at a San Bernardino elementary school.

The shooting has brought attention to the rare disease that causes learning disabilities but is notable because those with it tend to be extremely friendly, outgoing and full of joy. As the William's Syndrome Foundation noted following Martinez's tragic death, "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 William's 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."

One of those extraordinary people with William's Syndrome is a 65-year-old Davenport man, Bill Smyser.

Bill spends his days at the Handicapped Development Center, enjoying rock and roll and spreading joy around him.

"Bill is a pretty happy guy, easygoing, and very lovable," says Natalie Wenzel, an employee at the center.

He's outgoing, caring, and always smiling, all traits of someone with William's Syndrome.

"It's a serious disease. It can kill you," says Bill.

Bill is one of about 20,000 people in the US with the genetic disease. It causes cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning disabilities.

"If they get the right treatment, they can live successful lives," says Wenzel.

Bill likes to fish, go for walks, cook out, and listen to rock and roll.

He says he doesn't let his disease get him down.

To learn more about William's Syndrome, click here.

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