For most parents, watching your child fall asleep is a calm, lovely and wonderful thing. But for the parents of twelve-year-old Liam Derbyshire seeing their boy start to nod off fills them with terror and fright. Why? Because if he falls asleep – without the aid of machinery – he would die.
Liam has a very rare condition called ‘central hypoventilation’ (it’s also known as Ondine’s Curse), which means that he can not draw his own breath automatically. When he nods off or falls sleep, his body just stops breathing. But that doesn’t mean the boy never sleeps, he just has to be hooked up to a respirator each night and the respirator does the breathing for him.
This condition was one that Liam was born with. His mother Kim Derbyshire said that, “you go from having a child who you believe to be normal when he is born to suddenly realizing that he has quite a catastrophic condition.” Not only do his parents have to hook him up to machines each night but they have a nurse that watches him as he sleeps as well and they have to keep a keen eye on him at all times to make sure he doesn’t nod off during the day.
But Liam, he has defied the odds. At his birth doctors gave him six weeks to live, and at the age of twelve, he has proved them wrong.
Image: Today Show