Oliver’s fight for a normal life

Oliver Cunningham and mum Michelle
Oliver Cunningham and mum Michelle

A family want to raise awareness of the rare genetic condition their three-year-old son inherited and struggles to live with every day.

Little Oliver Cunningham, of Greenacres Road, Bonnybridge, was born with Xq28 Duplication, a disorder which causes delays in his development – leading to problems with talking, mobility and even eating.

His condition means he could die before he his 30.

Mum Michelle said: “He was 21-months-old when we found out what he had and it was such a shock. I was walking around in a daze for a week trying to sift through the information we got from the support group Unique, which helps people affected by rare chromosome disorders.

“We found out it is extremely rare and for us it is hereditary - the genetic fault started with me and I passed it onto Oliver.”

Michelle and husband Craig (36) were concerned their other children Lauren (11) and Ben (7) may have the condition, but both are fine - although Laura may have to undergo tests when she gets older to see if she carries the gene.

For the first year of Oliver’s life there were problems getting a diagnosis and it was a period which saw his weight drop because he was not feeding. He subsequently had to go through an operation which left him in intensive care, struggling to breathe with a chest infection.

From that day on the youngster has not been able to eat solid food.

“We just thought he had a problem feeding and the operation would fix it,” said Michelle. “He was losing, not gaining, weight and I was worried he had a heart problem.

“Developmentally, Oliver wasn’t doing anything at all. After the diagnosis we were told Oliver may walk, talk and even eat in the future, but there is no indication of when this will happen.

“When he is well he is the happiest boy I know.”