Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Let's Help Zak to Enjoy His Family Breaks; SUNSHINE FUND IN BID TO BUY TRAVEL SHOWER FOR TEEN

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Let's Help Zak to Enjoy His Family Breaks; SUNSHINE FUND IN BID TO BUY TRAVEL SHOWER FOR TEEN

Article excerpt

Byline: KATIE COLLINGS Reporter katie.collings@ncjmedia.com @bylinetwitter

Zak with Vici, Gavin, and sisters Sian and Eva ZAK Richardson has a life that no 14-year-old should have.

Suffering from the lifelimiting disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy, he is now unable to walk or get around without help.

Having to be helped to shower and use the toilet would be every teenage boy's nightmare but for Zak it is his everyday reality.

The disorder, which is often caused by a genetic mutation, severely weakens the muscles in the legs, arms and pelvis, leaving most unable to walk by the age of 12.

Those who have the devastating disease are also only expected to live until their mid-20s.

Zak, from Newbigginby-the-Sea, was diagnosed at 18 months but his mum Victoria's instinct told her something was wrong with her firstborn long before.

"I trained as a nursery nurse so I could tell he wasn't meeting his milestones. He couldn't push himself up, didn't sit up and didn't crawl. He was referred for physio at nine months," The 38-year-old said.

Victoria and husband Gavin's worlds came crashing down when they were told their son had the disorder and would only live until he was around 18 years old.

"We'd never even heard of it before," Victoria added. "It was so hard because the pregnancy had been fine and we thought he was a healthy boy."

Luckily, Victoria and Gavin, 40, have now been told that their son will live longer than expected but life is still difficult for the family - which also includes Sian, 10, and Eva, three.

"Zak was able to walk up until last July when he had a fall and fractured his leg - he hasn't walked since. We now have to help with everything like dressing him, going to the toilet and showering," Victoria added.

"It's been quite difficult for him to lose that independence because before he was able to walk to the toilet and shower himself and then just use his power wheelchair when he went out. "It was a big shock to him. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.