US treatment hope for little Luke

Luke Blignaut, seven, has a rare genetic condition, and is one of ten children in the world taking part in an experimental trial of a new treatment. His family need to raise �300,000 for him to go. Picture of him with his brother Quinton, six, and mum Nicky.
Luke Blignaut, seven, has a rare genetic condition, and is one of ten children in the world taking part in an experimental trial of a new treatment. His family need to raise �300,000 for him to go. Picture of him with his brother Quinton, six, and mum Nicky.
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A Featherstone family is trying to raise £300,000 to help send their seven-year-old son for pioneering treatment in America.

Luke Blignaut has Hurler Syndrome, a terminal genetic disease which causes physical and mental deterioration.

He has already received a bone marrow transplant from his brother Quinton, six, but has now one of ten children across the world to take part in a clinical trial of a new enzyme treatment.

His mum Nicky, 37, of West End Avenue, Ackton, said: “The bone marrow transplant protects the brain, unfortunately there’s nothing known to stop the physical deterioration.

“We can see his progress and how he’s less capable than his peers, and how frustrating that is for him. If this treatment reduces his deterioration by 20 per cent, I will feel we have gained a huge amount.”

Charity the MPS Society has already raised £600,000 towards the £900,000 treatment for all ten children, and Featherstone Rovers has launched a fundraising bid to help the Blignauts.

Luke will travel to the USA for clinical screening, then have weekly enzyme therapy in Manchester for six months, before returning to America to assess the results.

Nicky said: “We don’t know if it will work, and there are down sides, but it’s my duty as a parent to explore every avenue we have to for him.”

Luke went to a training session with Rovers last week to meet the team and launch the fundraising campaign.

Nicky said: “We thrilled to have the support of our local team, they’ve been so supportive and helpful.”

To donate to the Rovers’ appeal, text LUKE44 £2 to 70070, donors can give up to £10.