Womenz Magazine

Mum’s heartbreak as rare condition robs football mad son, 9, of his lifelong dream

A heartbroken mum told how her football mad son was diagnosed with a rare condition leaving him unable to play his favourite sport and “one day needing a hip replacement”.

Laura Carter, 30, was devastated when doctors revealed nine-year-old Taylor has Perthes disease – a rare illness where blood supply to the thighbone is blocked.

Leeds United fan Taylor loved playing football but has been in too much pain since the diagnosis in December 2020.

The condition that affects just four in 100,000 children left Taylor, an aspiring footballer, in a lot of pain, with mobility issues and the prospect of one day needing a hip replacement.

Laura, who wants to raise awareness for Leeds Hospitals Charity, said: “This disease is heartbreaking and has stopped a child in his tracks of enjoying himself.

“It’s been so hard to watch my little boy robbed of his childhood, but the staff have been amazing,” the mum told LeedsLive.

“Before Taylor was playing sport almost every day – he’s football mad, he’s a huge Leeds United fan, and he loved playing for a local team. He was even scouted for Leeds United when he was younger.”

“But now he can’t play football – he’s in a lot of pain and even the basic tasks that you take for granted like walking up the stairs or getting out of the bath are hard for him.

“Doctors can’t say what caused the Perthes disease, and there’s no real way to cure it. But it will leave Taylor with lasting mobility issues and he will need a hip replacement one day.”

It was in the summer of 2020 when Taylor first started to complain of pain in his right leg and began limping.

After a series of X-rays doctors were unable to tell what was causing Taylor’s pain, and asked him to return to the hospital in a few months if it continued.

But over the course of the next few months Taylor’s condition only worsened.

“He went from being such an active child, playing football almost every day to struggling to walk,” Laura, of Otley, Leeds, said.

“It was awful for me to see him like that, especially as I didn’t know how to make it better. I felt helpless.”

So, in December he underwent an MRI scan at Leeds General Infirmary.

It was just a few days later that he was diagnosed with Perthes disease – which, depending on the severity, can cause painful arthritis at some stage in adult life and some suffers may require a hip replacement.

Since his diagnosis Taylor has been managing his symptoms with regular physiotherapy sessions and regular visits to the orthopaedic unit.

Next month he will undergo a bone graft where they will remove bone from his thigh to extend his hip joint and keep it in place.

But inevitably, Laura fears one day Taylor will be in need of a hip replacement.

She said: “The surgery on his hip will give Taylor a better prognosis. He could need a hip replacement, they’re trying to avoid that, but he will need one later in life. “But they’re trying to prolong it as best they can to give him the best chance of playing football again.”

Laura hopes to raise £5,000 to support her local NHS hospitals and is planning to take on not only the Yorkshire Three Peaks but also the National Three Peaks, and also plans to hold an online tombola and raffle weekly.

NHS Trusts each year set up their ‘Hospital Heroes’ fundraising initiative.

Fundraisers who sign up to become Hospital Heroes, pledge to raise £1,000 to help staff at their local NHS hospitals provide the best care for patients and families.

Laura has so far raised more than £1,000 to support Leeds Hospitals Charity, on her fundraising page here.

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