Antonis Andreou, just 22 months old, is battling a rare form of muscular atrophy which left him almost completely paralysed at eight months, and his parents are hoping to raise money for a gene therapy that could potentially cure him over time.
Antonis suffers from spinal muscular atrophy type 1 caused by a deficiency in a protein called SMN. When it appears in babies, the disease is categorised as type 1.
“Babies typically have generalised muscle weakness, a weak cry and breathing distress. They often have difficulty swallowing and sucking, and don’t reach the developmental milestone of being able to sit up unassisted,” said the muscular dystrophy association.
His parents, Chara and Christos Andreou, spoke to Sigma TV to share their story, which went from four months of pure bliss over the birth of their first child, to almost eight months of constant doctor’s visits to combat their son’s condition, which started to show signs when he was about five months old.
“In the eighth month, he became completely paralysed,” Chara said. “We had a quadriplegic baby, who couldn’t move his little finger. He couldn’t support his head, or turn it left or right.”
Antonis’ parents were proactive and were able to get some of the necessary medicines to help their child.
“Today, after one year of therapy, he can sit, he has partial functioning of his hands, he can move his feet, and he has satisfactory control of his head,” said Christos.
However, there is an expensive gene therapy called Zolgensma, which could help little Antonis not only deal with his condition, but overcome it as well.
The therapy costs €2 million, and is a prescription gene therapy used to treat children less than two years old with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Zolgensma is given as a one-time infusion into the vein, the therapy’s website states.
Anyone wishing to help Antonis overcome his condition can donate online through PayPal at http://www.meagapi.giatonantoni.com/.
His parents have also enabled quick pay from Bank of Cyprus at +357 99 938539.
People can also make payments into bank accounts at the Bank of Cyprus
To: THOMA CHAR. GIA LOG. ANTONI ANDREOU
Account Number: 357032169908
IBAN: CY10 0020 0195 0000 3570 3216 9908
OR Hellenic Bank
To: THOMA CHARALAMBIA FOR ANDREOU ANTON
Account Number: 1051087619801
IBAN: CY44 0050 0105 0001 0510 8761 9801