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Stubborn recovery

Charlie’s mum reckons he’s an incredibly stubborn kid – and that’s part of the reason why his battle with a rare condition is going as well as can be hoped, and why a Satan’s Little Helper gift has been so useful

Satan's Little Helper gifted Charlie a crucial bit of kit

Diseases that stop children from playing are among the cruelest. Growing up should be a time for exploration, fun and imagination, not pain, sadness and frustration.

14-year-old Charlie has been battling Perthes disease for seven years, and while things are the best they’ve been since his diagnosis in 2016, his mum Serena says his future is still uncertain.

Different paths

“He’s doing well. His ball joint in his hip is starting to grow back and it’s looking good, but he’ll probably still need a hip replacement when he’s in his 20s and he may be prone to early-onset arthritis.”

Perthes disease is a rare childhood condition that affects the hip and occurs when blood supply to the head of the thighbone is temporarily disrupted. Without adequate blood supply, the bone cells die. Sadly, this is the third time that Satan’s Little Helper has come to the aid of a child afflicted with Perthes this year. It’s an incredibly painful condition but, luckily for Charlie, it was caught pretty early by an eagle-eyed GP.

Stroke of luck

“When he was seven, he randomly started limping and felt pain in his groin. We took him to see the doctor and she told us to go straight to the hospital. She had suspected it as being Perthes because she’d just got back from a week-long course about rare diseases!”

However, Serena says the hours in hospital were gut-churning, as nobody heart the time could confirm what Charlie had been admitted for.

“You can imagine the 100s of terrible scenarios that were running through my brain. Nine hours after we got to hospital, a surgeon told us that Charlie had the disease.”

A diagnosis meant that he had to give up the things he loved – riding bikes, jumping on a trampoline, playing sports. And the trade-off only meant he’d be in less pain, not no pain!

He then went in for an operation to recover his ball joint, followed by a second one to remove the pins and plates. Both surgeries have been a success.

“Charlie is very stubborn, which has helped him in the long run, because he’s been doing everything the physio and surgeon ask of him. That’s helped him recover and allowed him to build strength in his legs.”

Keeping him moving

Because Charlie loves to exercise so much, Satan’s Little Helper got him a treadmill – which Serena says has been brilliant for her son’s mental and physical health.

“When he’s a bit sore or stiff, he goes on the treadmill and it gets him moving, which then gives him the energy to get outside and do the things he wants to do. It’s also been great for his mental health and has improved his mood heaps.

“We put it in his bedroom, and sometimes he’ll put a movie on and just walk on it for a while. His room is slowly turning into a gym, but as long as he’s happy and it helps him, it’s no problem for me! All I want is for him to be happy.”


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