N.B. toddler diagnosed with Parkinson's disease
A New Brunswick mother was shocked to hear her two-year-old son’s diagnosis: Juvenile Parkinson’s disease with dystonia.
Little Keegan is as curious and energetic as any toddler, but his hands shake when he tries to concentrate on tasks and his legs jiggle when he tries to stand still.
“I’ve heard of Parkinson’s, but never in a child,” said Keegan’s mother, Cortney Shyla Mclellan of Fredericton.
“I was really upset about the whole thing,” Mclellan said, later adding: Every day is going to be a struggle for him, but we just want him to be happy.”
At first, Cortney didn’t know what was wrong, but after seeing doctors in Halifax and Saint John, N.B., the Mclellans say Keegan was finally diagnosed. Juvenile Parkinson’s dystonia, as it is commonly referred, are muscle contractions that cause tremors.
Grandmother Angie Mclellan called the diagnosis "scary," but said Keegan is already learning to deal with frustrations like shaky forks or stubbing his toe
“He’s getting to the point now where he just wipes the tears away and keeps going,” she said.
Keegan is on medication that helps, but his mother is hoping that a trip to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto will provide more answers.
Mclellan said she’s also hoping to find out ways to “help him more.”
But the family has been told that keeping Keegan active helps.
“They say if he tries to slow down, it makes his brain work more, so he gets more muscle spasms,” Cortney said. “If he takes off running, it’s easier on him.”
Local charity Sound for Change is helping raise money to cover the costs of the trip. There is also a GoFundMe page set up where strangers can contribute, and the charity has planned a live music event for next month to raise money for Keegan.
Scott McKay, founder of Sound for Change said he too, had never heard about Parkinson’s in a young child.
“I was definitely surprised when I heard about it and we thought it would be nice to do whatever we could to help out,” he said.
Parkinson’s in people under the age of 20 is so rare that its prevalence is unknown, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Society of the U.K.
As with adult Parkinson’s, the juvenile form of the disease progresses at different speeds in different people.
Parkinson’s is a neurological disease that can lead to rigidity or stiffness, tremors, difficulties initiating movements, depression, difficulty swallowing, bladder problems and constipation, according to the Mayo Clinic.
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown