Photo: 8-year-old William Magee. Source: Mirror.
At just two-years-old, William Magee was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Now 8 years old, and in the United Kingdom, William has already become an inspiration to many.
In a recent article published on the Mirror, his mother discusses his severe progression of the disease and how William is facing it with both optimism and bravery. In the article, William revealed his own bucket list, which has simple, yet touching goals. This bucket list, however, also shows that he is aware of the amount of time he has left.
The various forms of muscular dystrophy are said to affect more than 70,000 citizens in the United Kingdom. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the condition includes the noticeable deterioration of muscle structures. William’s mom discusses her experience when she initially noticed the symptoms: "I had seen that William was having slight struggles with walking and thought he had flat feet so when they told me I was like ‘ok does he need surgery then?’... When they said that he maybe would on his spine later in life I realised it wasn’t what I thought it was. That’s when they told us to ‘go home and enjoy the time we had with him’.”
William is currently undergoing medical trials, however his family is unsure of how much longer he will have before the bulk of the condition takes over. Along the lines of his future, William’s mom points out that, “Between now and 10 years old will come the time when he will no longer be able to walk and very soon after the rest of his muscles will deteriorate. He won’t be able to turn over in bed, raise his hand to his mouth for a drink or put his arms around the ones he loves. William’s heart will then fail and he will lose his fight against Duchenne."
William Magee is, “very conscious about the price of things,” as his mother puts it. This statement provided a small glimpse into the amazing attitude William has. William’s mom points out that, “I just want to be able to say ‘yes’ more often… We don’t have much disposable income, my husband works, but I stay home to look after William and we have two other children as well."
This positive attitude is extremely inspiring, as this 8 year old must soon face some of the most difficult changes in the near future. William’s bucket list includes items like buying Legos to being able to stay in a Liverpool hotel. His mom hopes that granting some of these wishes on her son’s bucket list will be able bring more positivity in light of such a difficult situation.
Along these lines, William’s mom states, “Our aim is to try and mask the many negatives with as many positives as we can for William.”
With William’s condition progressively getting worse, his family strives to bring about as much positivity in the midst of the situation as possible. As William grows up, his condition will worsen, and it will be a time in his life where other kids his age may be taking place in baseball or tennis. In order to make William feel more accepted, his parents hope that by purchasing a Xbox game console, it will do just that. William’s mom points out that, “He has this idea of being able to have an Xbox and be able to speak to other children, but because it is online, they won’t know anything about his condition and he will feel equal.” Another way William is able to participate in some of the activities done by children his age include his love for building Legos.
Kelly, William’s mom, mentions that, “He loves Lego because he isn’t able to play football or run around and he has never been able to ride a bike, so Lego is something he can do and people can join in - when he lets us that is, he can get very protective over his creations!”
Here is William's full bucket list:
- Going to a concert
- Going to a toy shop and buying any Lego he wants
- Having an X-box
- Visiting Santa's house
- Going on a "Sandal's" Holiday
- Staying overnight at a hotel in Liverpool
- Becoming a zookeeper
What is muscular dystrophy?
Muscular dystrophy consists of a disease where symptoms progressively worsen over time. The health condition is defined by a loss of muscle mass, and is commonly grouped into two main categories, which include Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Becker muscular dystrophy. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (the type William has been diagnosed with) is most often seen in boys, and can show symptoms as early as 2 to 3 years of age. The symptoms associated with the disease include waddling gait, muscle pain and stiffness, struggles learning, constant falls, as well as trouble sitting up from both a seated and lying position.
Becker muscular dystrophy shares much of these same symptoms as well, however, this specific type will often develop at a more mild rate. In addition to this, cases of Becker muscular dystrophy can become prevalent as late as the mid-20s for patients.
In terms of the condition’s cause, medical professionals have identified the disease to stem from mutated genes within the body that are ultimately responsible for protecting muscle fibers. More specifically, the various forms of muscular dystrophy result from a mutation of this gene, resulting in the eventual deterioration of muscles. In most cases, the condition is genetic, however other scenarios can result from mutations that “occur spontaneously in the mother’s egg or developing embryo,” according to Mayo Clinic.
The future for patients with muscular dystrophy
While the various symptoms associated with muscular dystrophy prove to be extremely difficult, hope still remains for the affected patients and their loved ones. This can be seen in the various research efforts and organizations that are put together in order to better understand the intricacies of muscular dystrophy.
With these efforts, patients are able to receive more effective treatment options, and can one day look forward to a potential cure. As for now, the growing support continues to drive individuals, such as William in their respective fights against muscular dystrophy.
This very support was apparent especially for William, as he made headlines a few years ago when over 28,000 personal cards were written and sent to him from people around the world. With events such as these, there can only be positive attitudes in the face of such a difficult health condition. Patients like William show this spirit each and every day, and ultimately serve as an inspiration for everyone who may encounter struggles in their lives.