'When I saw my little Archie's note to Santa, my heart broke'
A mother broke down in tears as she read her terminally ill son's letter to Santa Claus, in which he asked for a cure to his illness.
"This is our sixth Christmas knowing that our children are very sick," Archie Naughton's mother Paula said yesterday.
"It's horrific if you know your child is going to die.
"We're grateful that we still have our children, but there's no doubt that an illness like Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) casts a shadow over your life."
Archie (11) and his brothers Isaac and George (both 6) all have DMD, a rare and fatal neuromuscular disease, for which there is no cure.
This week, their mother read their letters to Santa Claus, and when she saw their wishes written down so innocently in their handwriting, she broke down in tears.
"Archie knows that he's very sick. He found out by accident when he found a charity leaflet last Christmas," she said.
"Archie wants a cure. Isaac wants new legs so he can run faster like his friends, and George wants a Jacuzzi to help his muscles.
"When I saw Archie's letter, my heart broke. I cried when I read it because it's so profound. No child should have to think about those things.
"Archie is 12 next Sunday and the way the disease works is that it's very fast, especially at this age.
"He's barely able to walk or stand now. He's constantly falling down when he tries to walk."
The brothers were diagnosed with DMD when Archie was six years old and the boys were two. Until relatively recently, boys with DMD usually did not survive much beyond their teenage years. Thanks to medical advances, however, survival into the early 30s is becoming more common.
"It's such a massive catastrophic diagnosis, to be told 'go home and love your children'. You're changed forever," said Mrs Naughton.
"The boys can't even play in the snow because they would be afraid they'd fall. You wouldn't wish it on anybody."
For more information on the Naughton boys, or to make a donation, visit their website or Facebook page.