This month, our charity is providing free genetic screening to 9,000 families in Carrickfergus, near Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Belfast woman Debbie was diagnosed 18 months ago and said: “I hadn’t heard of the condition before I was diagnosed, but have since learned that it’s thought to be really common in Northern Ireland. Now I know lots of people with the disorder! It’s been a long – and at times frustrating – journey, but I’m lucky that I now have an answer and can receive treatment.”

As part of this project, part-funded by local Carrickfergus charity Gill's Charity will see the delivery of leaflets with information about genetic haemochromatosis and details of how to order a free health check to over 9,000 homes across the town during February.

Chief Executive of Haemochromatosis UK, Neil McClements said: “Early diagnosis saves lives – and every diagnosis starts with public awareness. This cross-community project is bringing people together to raise awareness of the symptoms of this common, but treatable, genetic condition. We encourage people to request a home testing kit and get tested so that they can rule out this condition. It’s really prevalent in Northern Ireland, so it’s well worth families getting involved.”

Sarah Fenlon (28) was diagnosed with genetic haemochromatosis last year after years of experiencing symptoms.

She said: “I would advise anyone with symptoms, especially if you live in an area that is known for genetic haemochromatosis, to get tested. I spent quite a long time trying to find out why I was experiencing the symptoms I had, and I think if there had been more awareness this wouldn’t be the case.”

Read more in the Belfast Telegraph.