Family's heartbreak as baby Hector is given just months to live
- Credit: Howlett family
A young family has told of a heartbreaking few weeks after their 11-month-old baby was given just months to live.
Hector Howlett, from Great Witchingham, has been diagnosed with Alpers' syndrome, an extremely rare, genetic condition.
It is said to affect fewer than one in 200,000 people.
The Howlett family's "awful" ordeal began when, at 10 months old, Hector developed a temperature before starting to have seizures.
The tot was intubated at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) where it was suspected he might have a brain infection.
Seemingly on the mend, Hector was allowed home, but the seizures persisted. Weeks went by and his parents, Tara and Lee, awaited a diagnosis.
"He was still trying to do all the things he did before," said Mrs Howlett.
- 1 Snow starts to fall in Norfolk - but will it last?
- 2 Lots of smiles and festive cheer seen at town's Christmas light switch on
- 3 Cast your votes in the Times Awards 2021
- 4 Village pub could reopen as soon as the spring
- 5 'An incredible shock': Norfolk pub named best in Britain
- 6 New 4,000 home garden village idea criticised by countryside charity
- 7 Plumber's plan for 'enormous' garage in his back garden rejected
- 8 Delays after two-vehicle crash on A47
- 9 Christmas in full swing as Polar Express delights thousands in sell-out run
- 10 Full programme revealed for Dereham Christmas lights switch-on
"But he was having more seizures and the doctors just could not get them to stop."
Hector was transported to Great Ormond Street Hospital and placed in intensive care. Countless tests were carried out and, eventually, Mr and Mrs Howlett were told their baby had Alpers'.
"We had never even heard of it," said Mrs Howlett.
"Unfortunately, Hector's illness is severe. There is no cure, no treatment and all we can do is manage the symptoms.
"To go from having this seemingly healthy, normal 10-month-old baby to being given that news was so awful."
She added: "The rapid decline in his health has been nothing less than horrible.
"He can't sit up, feed or swallow, so is having to be fed through a tube."
Their world flipped upside down, Mr and Mrs Howlett's attentions have turned to making as many memories as possible with Hector and his three-year-old brother, Arthur.
They hope also to create a lasting legacy by funding the completion of the play park in Great Witchingham, behind the family home.
Already, a fundraising page has received more than £17,500 in donations.
"We thought it would be nice for Arthur to be able to play at the park and say 'my little brother helped build this'," added Mrs Howlett.
"Hector is so well loved and we have never taken him for granted for a second.
"We have enjoyed every moment with him, and that is what we will continue to do until the time comes."
To donate, visit gofund.me/dec34d25.
The Howlett family would like to thank Dr Ruchi Arora at NNUH for her tireless care.