The family of a Salford toddler with an incurable skin condition causing a birthmark to grow inside his body have thanked a local housing trust for getting him closer to his grandparents.
Two-year-old Harvey Malkin of Little Hulton, is one of only 100 children in the world to suffer from Neurocutaneous Melanosis.
The condition means he has birthmarks covering parts of his body, including one on his brain, which affects his speech and balance – he must also apply a special cream every day to stop his fragile skin from drying out.
As well as this, the poor tot’s parents have to take little Harvey for plastic surgery twice a year at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to remove the worst of the birth marks and get regular MRI scans.
After hearing of the family’s plight, City West Housing Trust worked closely with parents Emma and Gary to find them a property near to Harvey’s grandparents who can provide extra help.
Emma said: “When Harvey was born we knew nothing about his condition, as it is so rare. It hadn’t shown up in any scans, and even the hospital staff didn’t know at first what it was.
“Harvey has had things pretty tough since birth, but he’s a really bright, cheeky little boy and a joy to us all. He’s now going to nursery every morning and has started eating by himself.”
The plucky toddler is also seeing a speech and language therapist, and is beginning to say his first few words.
“Every time he says a new word, we are all amazed and thrilled. We’re so proud of him,” Emma said.
“Moving back to Salford has made a huge difference to the family. We have an extra network of support and City West were fantastic in finding us a place.”
Part of Harvey’s treatment requires him to have a shower every day followed by the application of special creams and lotions.
Emma added: “They even fitted a new shower for us for free as the property available didn’t have one. It means I no longer have to take Harvey out in the cold every night to get a shower at his nanas.
“The City West staff were great, and we’re very happy with the results.”
The family, which also includes Harvey’s eight-month-old sister Miyah, had been living at an army barracks in Yorkshire until last year, where Gary served as a Private working in logistics.
Since his service came to an end in December 2012, they have been desperate to move back to Salford where they will have more support for Harvey.
Matt Jones, Assistant Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods, from City West Housing Trust, said: “Harvey is one of the bravest children we have ever met, and his parents are equally inspiring. We were only too happy to help in finding them a property.
“Taking a daily shower is an essential way for Harvey to keep fit and healthy. We’re thrilled that we’ve been able to make life that little bit easier for Harvey and his parents.”
Harvey’s condition is a type of Congenital Melanocytic Naevus (CMN) – which is characterised by brown birthmarks.
Single small CMN are found in 1% of all newborn babies.
Large, multiple CMN are far more unusual, occurring in around one in 20,000 births, while CMN growing within the body are rarer still.
Harvey and his family have been helped to cope with the condition through the charity Caring Matters Now which supports families and shares news about latest research into the condition.
For more information visit www.caringmattersnow.co.uk