Next-door neighbours both struck down by one in 50,000 genetic disorder

Saints James Roby with Gary Atherton, who swam a mile in Lake Windermere to raise awareness of the rare condition, Wolf Hirshhorn which Gary's nephew, Christopher and next door neighbour, Becky Carr, suffer from
Saints James Roby with Gary Atherton, who swam a mile in Lake Windermere to raise awareness of the rare condition, Wolf Hirshhorn which Gary's nephew, Christopher and next door neighbour, Becky Carr, suffer from
  • Neighbours both have Wolf Hirschhorn syndrome
  • Condition only affects one in 50,000 people
  • Saints ace James Roby helps raise awareness of the conidtion

A Newton dad is hoping to raise awareness of an incredibly rare genetic condition which affects just 200 people in the country, including his son AND next-door neighbour.

Joe Atherton’s son Christopher, 36, was born with the genetic disorder Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS) which occurs in every one in 50,000 births.

Wolf Hirschhorn syndrome is a very rare condition and many people don’t know exactly what it is. It is important to raise awareness to support not only the people who are suffering with the condition now, but also the families whose new born babies have the condition and need help and guidance as to what to do next

Joe Atherton

This condition is caused by a deletion of genetic material in the chromosomes that occurs as a random event during the formation of reproductive cells or in early embryonic development.

There is no cure for the syndrome.

People who have this condition may have reduced eyesight or hearing, difficulties with mobility and trouble eating, but each case differs from person to person. One person may suffer more severely with one of the features of the condition than an other.

Mr Atherton said: “Wolf Hirschhorn syndrome is a very rare condition and many people don’t know exactly what it is. It is important to raise awareness to support not only the people who are suffering with the condition now, but also the families whose new born babies have the condition and need help and guidance as to what to do next.”

Christopher’s uncle, Gary took part in The Great North Swim last week in Lake Windermere, swimming to raise awareness so that more people are educated on the condition.

A close friend of Mr Atherton’s and Sainta ace James Roby met up with Gary and the family on Monday to congratulate him on the swim.

Mr Atherton, 65, is Christopher’s full-time carer and helps him with day-to-day tasks such as walking and eating.

He said: “I made the decision to move into Christopher’s home so that I could care for him full time.

“We have a stair lift and a wet-room so it is more convenient to look after him here.”

By co-incidence, the Athertons live next door Becky Carr, who also suffers from Wolf Hirschhorn, and her family.

To support or donate to The Wolf Hirschorrn Syndrome Trust, visit http://www.whs4pminus.co.uk