Seven-year-old Hearts fan dies from rare condition 148

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By Douglas Walker  

A YOUNG Scot has died of a rare degenerative condition likened to childhood dementia.

Mitchell Harrower, seven, suffered from the disease Niemann-Pick type C which affects only 500 people worldwide.

Brave Mitchell, who lived in Australia, was left unable to walk, talk or feed himself as a result of the illness.

His mum, Liat Harrower, says despite his suffering, he never let the condition upset him.

The condition gradually causes cholesterol to accumulate in lungs and brain causing sufferers to forget everything they had ever learned.

Mitchell’s dad, Douglas Harrower, originally from Edinburgh, said the family are devastated by Mitchell’s death.

He said: “It still feels like it hasn’t really happened, and it’s all been a bad dream.

“There’s still a sense of numbness, because it was such a special life, and the thought of not being able to do anything else with him and create more memories is hard to deal with.

“His belly laugh was a sight to behold, he had such a beautiful nature.”

His mum Liat added: “He never let anything get in his way.  Even at the point when the disease took hold, and he was unable to walk, talk or eat, he never let it upset him.”

There is no known treatment for the disease with most sufferers not living beyond their childhood years.

Mitchell passed away on Sunday morning with his family around him at a Malvern hospice in Victoria, Australia.

His older sister Taylor said: “Every couple of seconds he would stop breathing and we worried until he started again.

“He took one breath and we waited for another and after about 30 seconds we knew he had passed away.”

His mum Liat added: “There was no sign of distress on his face – he looked like a little angel.

“We made sure there was music in the room, and after he passed away I had the opportunity to give him a bath, which was very special.”

Despite living in Australia for his entire life, Mitchell was a keen Hearts fan with his family describing him as a ‘proud Jambo’.

His condition inspired family friends to establish the Mitchell Harrower Foundation, which will live on in his honour.

Fundraising manager, Carmel Hewett, said they would continue to help other families with terminally ill children despite Mitchell’s death.

She said: “It is important to keep his memory alive, but also to help other children who are in need.”

“Hopefully other families that need our help contact us and we make a difference.”

 

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