A SCHOOLGIRL who suffers from a rare condition which increases her chances of developing cancer has inspired an awareness drive.
Eva Pearson, four, from Silksworth, is the only person in the North East with Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome, which is so rare it is thought to affect just 400 people world-wide.
Though Eva’s only symptoms of the genetic condition so far is a rash on her face, it increases her chances of developing bone cancer and skin cancer as she gets older.
As a result, Eva, who has just started at Silksworth Infants’ School, will face a lifetime of hospital visits and monitoring with specialists – but she takes it all in her stride.
Mum Elizabeth, 31, said: “Eva was diagnosed with the condition when she was two. When we first found out, we looked it up on the internet and immediately thought the worst. It was a hard few months.
“Eva had developed a rash when she was one and doctors weren’t sure what it was, they thought it could be Slapped Cheek or eczema but no creams would make it go away. The dermatology department at Sunderland Royal said they’d never seen anything like the formation of this rash. It wasn’t until a geneticist from the Centre of Life got involved that a diagnosis was made.”
As well as the greater risk of cancer, other complications can arise as a result of the condition.
“Eva has to see a number of doctors,” said the mum-of-one, who is married to Darryl, 29.
“She can develop cataracts so sees a specialist for that, as well as an audiologist, dermatologist and paediatrician at the Niall Quinn Children’s Centre.”
The family has been supported by the Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome Foundation, which helps to fund research into the condition.
To say thank you, Elizabeth and Darryl hosted a fund-raiser dress down day at their workplace, EDF Energy in Doxford Park.
The family also hosted a charity evening at Lakeside Club, featuring a sponsored head shave, which help to bring the fund-raising total to £3,500.