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Family of sick toddler thank public and govt for their help

Antonis Andreou was left almost completely paralysed at eight months

The family of a 22-month-old boy who suffers from a rare form of muscular atrophy have expressed their gratitude to the public for their help in trying to raise €2m and to the state which on Wednesday announced they will be covering all costs for the boy’s treatment.

“We are extremely grateful and cannot thank people enough. These are the first words we want to say to people and the government,” a statement from the family said. The last few days “are unquestionable proof that humanity in our country has no bounds”.

The plight of 22-month Antonis Andreou and his family came to light through the media earlier this week in their attempt to raise some €2m for a gene therapy that could potentially cure him over time. The young boy suffers from spinal muscular atrophy and needs the treatment after he was left almost completely paralysed at eight months.

A day earlier, the health ministry announced it was looking into the case though it specified no application had been made to them but they were only aware of the case through the media.

Anastasiades announced the government decision to cover the costs, posting on Twitter “I am glad because after speaking to the health minister and after his actions, the costs for treating young Antoni can be covered in their entirety by the state.”

In a follow-up tweet, he expressed his “warmest wishes for a quick recovery and strength to his family.” Anastasiades also thanked the public for their support towards Andreou and his family during this difficult time.

The family, expressing their gratitude said “simple people were ready to give what they had, the church, municipalities, organised groups, charities, companies, professional bodies, sports clubs, Cypriots abroad, all went into the battle to raise the sum of money.”

The therapy costs €2m and is a prescription gene therapy used to treat children less than two years old with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). After the assessment of Andreou’s case, the ministry will undertake the cost of the medication Spinraza, purchasing it from abroad.

As such, this puts an end to the fundraiser, license number F.P 20/2019 and the amount of money which has been raised so far will be published with full transparency as per the law and the framework with which the fundraiser was carried out, the family said.

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