Make little Ethan McClean's birthday a special one by sending cards
The parents of a young boy with a life-limiting illness have appealed for people to give him a birthday to remember.
Andy and Yvette McClean, from Ballymena, want birthday cards to be sent to their eight-year-old son, Ethan, because the only post he gets at present is medical appointments.
He suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a severe muscle-wasting condition.
Ethan was diagnosed with the illness when he was 18 months old, and turns nine on September 14.
His parents want to show him that the postman can also bring happier news.
Yvette said: "It is Ethan's ninth birthday on September 14 and what we would really like is to fill the house with cards for him.
"This idea is not new and it may not be the last request you see like this, but we think it's something that Ethan would really love.
"The only post Ethan gets to the house is brown envelopes - medical appointments and lots of them. We would like to change his perception that the only post he will get is appointments.
"Secondly, it looks like Ethan is heading for double knee surgery later this year or early next year to have both knees plated and pinned.
"Outwardly he's reasonably upbeat, but we know that six weeks off his feet could have a serious detrimental effect on his ability to stay on his feet long term."
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a muscle wasting disorder that has a 100% fatality rate, because there is currently no cure.
By the age of 10, doctors believe that Ethan will be in a manual wheelchair full-time due to the loss of power in his legs. By his early teens, he will require a powered wheelchair due to loss of power in his arm muscles.
Currently there is no treatment for the strand of DMD that Ethan suffers from and his life expectancy is currently mid to late teens. Yvette added: "Ethan is like any other child his age, he loves Xbox and PlayStation.
"We recently got a new puppy, a Labrador and Collie mix; she is called Echo, who is bringing him out of his shell a bit more."
- Birthday cards for Ethan can be posted to 49 Dunsane Park, Ballymena, BT43 7AJ