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Little Bryden’s big battle with rare disease

Bryden Howley, 1, was born with severe haemophilia A.
Bryden Howley, 1, was born with severe haemophilia A. Robyne Cuerel

WHILE most parents will tell you it's only natural to worry when your child cops the occasional bump and bruise, spare a thought for Laura McFadyen and Dion Howley, whose son suffers from a rare case of haemophilia, a disease that could see even the slightest knock turn fatal.

However watching little Bryden Howley race across the floor of his Hervey Bay home, you wouldn't know this cheeky child has had to endure more hospital visits in his first year than most others will in a lifetime.

"We want him to be a happy, normal kid because that's what he is," Laura said.

"Yes, we have to have certain discussions that most parents don't have to have and he will have to learn the things that he can and cannot do but we just want him to be happy."

Bryden was born with a rare blood condition known as severe haemophilia A.

Passed on genetically, it predominantly affects males and sees a lack of clotting factor in the blood which leads to excessive internal and external bleeding.

As a result, for the rest of his life, Bryden and his family will be prone to a rigorous routine of injecting a clotting factor directly into the blood through a small port in his chest.

Laura, whose father suffered from the disease, recalls the moment she and Dion first heard the news that would change their lives forever.

"The day Bryden was born was the happiest and saddest day all rolled into one," she said.

"Straight after he was born we kind of had a feeling that the test was going to be positive.

"Then, later that afternoon, well, you know something is not right when a team of about five doctors walk into your room."

Today, it is through a combination of the family's resilient attitude, support from the local community and Bryden's adventurous spirit that sees daily obstacles of living with haemophilia overcome.

"When we had Bryden, I felt like as a mum it was my job to raise awareness so that he had a community that was always going to back him, not judge him," Laura said.

That's why Laura decided to document their journey with a Facebook page called "Little Aussie Bleeder".

"When we started it there wasn't a lot of information for new mums or new dads," Laura said.

"It's about our highs and our lows because that's what our reality is, we have moments where it's scary but the good times are special."

Bryden Howley's parents Dion Howley and Laura McFadyen in the home that is on the market as it is unsuitable for Bryden.
Bryden Howley's parents Dion Howley and Laura McFadyen in the home that is on the market as it is unsuitable for Bryden. Robyne Cuerel

Topics:  editors picks hervey bay



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