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Toddler, 3, is youngest person in world with ‘children’s Parkinson’s disease’

The mum of a toddler who is the youngest person in the world with ‘children’s Parkinson’s disease’ has said he is ‘trapped’ in his own body.

Jahleel Marsh, three, was diagnosed with Amino Acid Decarboxylase Deficiency (AADC) when he was just three-and-a-half months old, becoming the youngest in the world to have the rare condition.

His mum Bec Marsh, 41, describes it as ‘children’s Parkinson’s disease’ and says she just wants to feel him hug her back.

The brave youngster is unable to walk, talk and eat and has spent over half his life in hospital. Without life-saving treatment he is not expected to live past the age of seven.


Bec, from Melbourne, Australia, is now appealing for help to raise the €70,000 (around £60,500) needed to pay for the surgery.

Jahleel has been accepted to undergo Gene Therapy Brain Operation in Poland in May.

His mum said: ‘Jahleel was diagnosed at three-and-a-half months, which meant he was the youngest child in the world to have it.

‘His chances of having it are one in 56 million, so it’s incredibly rare.

‘Doctors told me not to google anything about his condition. They said the life expectancy without treatment is around seven years old.’

Bec said the news ‘broke my heart into a million pieces’. She added: ‘It’s something no parent should have to hear.

‘He can’t be left on his own for any length of time and needs round the clock care to keep him alive. He is such a sweet little boy. He can only smile a few minutes a day, but it’s so lovely to get a glimpse into the beautiful boy he truly is.

‘He will often just crack up laughing and it warms my heart. He can be so cheeky, but he is also super sweet and has such a gentle personality.’

The treatment is experimental but Jahleel’s mother – who is a full-time carer for him – said she is hopeful. ‘It’s just so hard that money is the only thing standing in the way of my child being able to have a life,’ she said.

‘We desperately need help, any little donation people can spare could change our lives. He is so brave, and I just want him to have a childhood.’

AADC is a brain disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

You can visit the fundraising page here.

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