A DISABLED schoolboy has received thousands of birthday messages from across the world after telling his mum “I’ve had enough of life”.
Rhys Williams, 13, is living in constant pain as he battles a rare life-limiting and agonising skin condition, known as epidermolysis bullosa, since he was born.
Rhys has received thousands of birthday messages from across the world[/caption]
His mum Tanya Williams wasn’t sure whether Rhys would ever reach his teenage years.
She is now pleading for help to save her now 13-year-old son who is confined to a wheelchair because of severe epidermolysis bullosa.
‘I’M LOST FOR WORDS’
The condition results in painful skin blisters, sores and has even caused his fingers to fuse together.
Rhys, from Bolton, Lancs., says he wishes “a butterfly would come and take him away” and his devastated mum is desperate to show him he has something to fight for.
Tanya said: “The last few months, he’s had enough of life.
“He’s had enough of being in pain with the sores. He just wants to give up, he doesn’t want to fight any more. What do you do as a mum?”
The last few months, he’s had enough of life. He’s had enough of being in pain with the sores. He just wants to give up, he doesn’t want to fight anymore
Mum, Tanya Williams
Mum Tanya Wlliams appealed to Bolton News to show him he has something to fight for.
After hearing his touching story, thousands of people extended their well wishes to the teen for his upcoming birthday on September 21.
Rhys has since received 37 cards, five parcels and more than 2,000 online messages from across the globe.
Tanya said: “I have had Facebook messages from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, California and India. I have even had people from Chile telling me Rhys has been on TV there. I just can’t get my head around it, I’m lost for words.
“It has just pulled on so many heartstrings, it’s all about what he has been going through and what he has been feeling. I think it will help him massively, he’s going to absolutely love reading all of these messages.”
Rhys has also received offers of a holiday to Tenerife with his mum and special theatre performances.
Tanya says she started to realise how far the appeal had reached when her breakfast was interrupted by a call from Liverpool Football Club’s Peter Moore.
The chief executive offered free box tickets to her Liverpool-mad son when he read the heartbreaking story.
The condition causes Rhys’ skin and internal tissue to blister at the slightest knock or rub, leaving him with painful open wounds.
He is now reliant on a wheelchair as he is unable to straighten his legs due to the fusing of the skin at the back of his knees.
His condition causes his skin to fall off or blister at the slightest touch. His fingers have webbed and his hands fused.
His frail body is covered in bandages, which have to be changed three times a day to prevent him from developing any deadly infections.
Tanya said: “His condition causes his skin to fall off or blister at the slightest touch. His fingers have webbed and his hands fused.”
His pain is so severe that he even had to take morphine to try and control it while his family are unable to hug him.
He is unable to play outside with friends, go on holidays, attend birthday parties and even go shopping in public with his family.
He also has to be fed through a tube as eating solid food can cause his gullet to blister.
WHAT IS EPIDERMOLYSIS BULLOSA?
Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a general term used to describe a group of rare inherited skin disorders that cause the skin to become very fragile.
In people with EB, any trauma or friction to the skin can cause tears and blisters.
EB is caused by faulty genes.
In most cases these are inherited from one or both parents but sometimes the fault occurs spontaneously.
It is a result of not enough collagen being produced in the skin.
The condition is incredibly rare, affecting around one in every 17,000 children born in the UK.
It means, there are currently around 5,000 sufferers living with the disease.
There is no cure for EB, but treatments aim to relieve symptoms.
Most treatments can be done at home, such as popping blisters with a sterile needle, applying protective dressings and avoiding things that make the condition worse.
The family have done similar appeals before, gathering Christmas cards from Bolton residents to decorate the house and cheer up Rhys.
Last time he was treated to hundreds of festive wishes and loved getting each one in the post.
Tanya said: “Every single card he received, he opened them with so much joy.
“He came home from school and he would see these Christmas cards.
“He got hundreds at a time.
“It showed him that he still needs to fight, that there’s people out there who do care and do love him.
“Hopefully it can make him see that not everything is bad.”
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British schoolgirl Poppy, six, also has the rare genetic disorder which makes her skin blister or tear at the slightest touch.
Affected youngsters are known as “butterfly children” because they are so delicate.
And American teenager Jonathan Gionfriddo, from Stafford Springs, Massachusetts, is refusing radical treatment – because he’s afraid he’ll die on the operating table.
Cards can be sent to 40 Whalley Avenue, Bolton, BL1 5UD.