The family of a Belfast baby with a rare fatal illness have spoken of their relief after learning that a pioneering bone marrow transplant appears to have halted the progression of his disease so far.
The mother of little Dylan Dicks said a recent MRI scan revealed that her son has not yet shown any signs of the brain damage he would be expected to have suffered by now.
Carrie Davidson (27) described the results as "just another little step" on the road to finding a cure for the rapidly progressing Tay Sachs Disease (TSD) which the one-year-old was diagnosed with in January.
There is currently no cure or treatment for TSD which has hit just six people in the UK in the past 20 years.
It will see Dylan become blind, deaf and gradually paralysed before dying if a cure is not found.
Ms Davidson and her partner, Gary Dicks, refused to give up and fought to take him to Germany for a bone marrow transplant. This was the couple's last hope of saving their tot from a disease expected to kill him by his fifth birthday.
Dylan, from Tigers Bay, had his gruelling transplant at Tubingen Children's Hospital in early May and has shown no signs of deterioration since then. He returned to the German hospital recently for an MRI scan.
Carrie said: "We were heartened when he showed no signs of getting worse since the transplant, but we had to wait until the 100-day scan to know for sure. The good news is that the doctors found that his condition is basically unchanged; he hasn't got any worse. It's the best we can expect at this stage.
"Everybody has been hoping for a miracle. It's such a rare disease that it's really a wait-and-see approach for the doctors as well, they can't promise anything.
"It's impossible to know what we can expect down the line, but at this stage this result is all we can ask for. It's just another little step on the road for us that we're relieved to have taken."
Dylan will return to Germany later this year for a 200-day scan and will continue treatment in the Royal Victoria Hospital until then.
Ms Davidson also issued a heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to the Dylan Dicks Appeal.
"There are so many people to thank, their names would fill your entire newspaper," she said. "They should all know who they are so I'd like to say a big thanks to them and to everybody who helped raise funds for the appeal and sent money in."