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We're closer to miracle of sight for our Joshua; Hopes raised for 2-yr-old after Chinese treatment.

Byline: ERYL CRUMP

THE parents of a blind boy flown to China for stem cell therapy have seen a dramatic improvement in their son.

But little Joshua Clark of Caernarfon faces further treatment in the New Year to help him grow.

The two-year old and members of his family spent six weeks at a Chinese hospital to try and improve his sight after an appeal raised more than pounds 40,000 to cover their costs.

Josh has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia - where small or poorly developed nerves connecting to the brain can cause blindness. The condition also disrupts his sleep patterns and slows his learning skills.

Doctors in this country had said there was no treatment.

Mum Joanna said: "We were told by doctors at Ysbyty Gwynedd there is no cure and we needed to prepare him for a life without sight."

But Joanna and husband Anthony didn't give up.

They researched the latest work going on across the world and finally came across a treatment using umbilical cord stem cells.

Josh had eight sets of stem cell treatments in the hospital in Hangzhou near Shanghai in China.

He also had physiotherapy and electric wave therapy to help strengthen his leg muscles for crawling and walking.

And although he still cannot see parents Joanna and Anthony believe they can see signs of the miracle they have been praying for.

Joanna said: "Following the China experience, I think that we all noticed improvements in all aspects of his capabilities including some light perception.

"Progress then stalled but has had a boost since he's been going into the hyperbaric oxygen chamber for an hour every day.

"We hope for further improvement when he starts having daily growth hormone injections early in the New Year.

"He's been to Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool to have all the tests and trying to optimise the dose of a number of hormones and compounds that will be needed to overcome deficiencies in his pituitary gland."

Josh now spends an hour every day in an oxygen chamber, which is continuing for a year to help the stem cell treatment.

His parents hope that the treatment will allow Josh to detect light, see colours and objects and be able to tell whether it is night or day.

erylcrump@dailypost.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Wellwishers raised pounds 40,000 to help Joshua Clark's treatment from a host of events, including this Stars in your Eyes night at Caernarfon Town FC Joshua Clark with mum Joanna from Caernarfon, with the hyperbaric oxygen chamber he uses to help with treatment for a rare eye condition that has left him blind Picture: ROBERT PARRY JONES
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 29, 2009
Words:442
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