Saturday, 5 May 2012

We're live (and a charity challenge to the Twitterverse)

Hello all!

Dan & I have just uploaded Dead on Demand onto Amazon.

We're now available LIVE on:

We have a challenge for the twitterverse this weekend. If we can get #DeadonDemand trending worldwide this weekend (which we'll loosely define as from now through to Sunday midnight GMT) then we will donate the first $1000 of the book's earnings to charity (upon being paid by Amazon - we can't give away what we don't have!).

We've chosen a specific charity for this, the Cure Tay-Sachs Foundation.

Those of you who have been given advance review copies will know why - one of the characters in the story suffers from Tay-Sachs. It's a horrific disease, which comes in three forms. In Dead on Demand, we looked at Infantile Tay-Sachs.

In a nutshell, Tay-Sachs sufferers don't produce what is known as Hexosaminidase A (or in late onset cases, they don't produce enough of it). This is a vital enzyme that breaks down lipid (fatty) cells called Gangliocides. Without the enzyme, the lipid builds up and causes nerve damage, particularly in the brain.

This result in paralysis, blindness, deafness and mental deterioration as well as increasing the risk of recurrent infection. It's one of the most destructive inherited conditions in existence, but it doesn't get much funding or publicity because carriers are few and far between.

In the general population, the carrier rate is around 1 in 25,000, and as both parents need to be carriers (as the gene is recessive) it's mercifully rare.

For those who descend from Ashkenazi Jews, French Canadians, Louisiana Cajun, Pennsylvania Dutch, and Italian stock, the risk is elevated. It's close to 1 in 4000 in the Ashkenazi population, and growing.

It's a disease that we should be able to treat. We're making great strides in gene therapy, chaperone therapy and cord blood transplants. With greater funding, a cure is possible within our lifetimes, so please take ten seconds, go on twitter and mention #DeadonDemand and help us make a difference for this great cause.

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