Plymouth mum pleas for help to keep son out of wheelchair
A MUM whose son is battling an incurable muscle-wasting disease is appealing to the public to help keep her “brave little fighter” out of a wheelchair for as long as possible.
Seven-year-old Zack Hayden, a pupil at Leigham Primary School, has the devastating disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and is likely to be wheelchair-bound within the next two years.
About 100 boys are born with the incurable condition in the UK each year.
The majority need a wheelchair by the age of eight to 11 due to progressive muscle weakness.
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They gradually lose their ability to walk, breathe, eat and speak, and often die before they reach 30.
But Zack’s mum Maria Whatley has made a heartfelt plea to the people of Plymouth to help her raise £4,500 to buy a special machine which could improve Zack’s quality of life and also potentially increase his life expectancy.
She said: “My world ended the day Zack got his diagnosis, knowing he won’t live a full life, but life is cruel.
“I’ll do anything to keep Zack out of a wheelchair for as long as possible and to give him as normal a life we can.
“He’s my brave little fighter and the thought of him being stuck in a wheelchair in as little as two years, and to have lost his independence, terrifies me. It’s devastating.”
Thirty-two-year-old Maria, a single mum, said a break-through machine, called the Vecttor, is “the only hope she’s got” of being able to give Zack as normal a life as possible for as long as possible.
Maria, who also has a five-year-old son called Harvey Pedrick, said: “Zack was diagnosed as having the incurable DMD when he was four-years-old. I left the room when the doctor said what it was, I didn’t want to hear it.”
Maria has since had her home adapted to meet Zack’s needs with a stair lift, wet room and hoist all having been fitted. Zack also received his first wheelchair two months ago and is becoming more reliant on it as the weeks go by, said Maria.
“His muscles are gradually deteriorating but the longer we can keep him on his feet the better. We know he will be wheelchair bound in the next couple of years but we are praying we can raise enough money to get the Vecttor machine which could help delay his need for the chair,” said Maria.
The Vecttor, not currently available in the UK, is an electromagnetic stimulation machine which can help reverse muscle loss, create gains in muscle function and gains in muscle strength.
It was invented by an American doctor and Maria said through research she has seen the benefits it has brought to many DMD sufferers.
She said: “To be able to buy this machine from America would be life-changing. At the moment £4,500 feels like a million pounds to me but if I don’t get the machine I will feel like I’ve failed Zack. Why shouldn’t he have every opportunity to have a normal childhood?
“If people really knew what DMD was like they would realise the importance of this machine to us. Right now it’s the only hope we have.”
Zack’s family have set up a charity account where people can make donations towards the machine. To donate visit Paypal and send the money to firstname.lastname@example.org.