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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Young mum speaks out after developing Parkinson’s disease aged just 25

19 March 2017

Hayley Huxley with daughter Poppy (Picture: SWNS)

A mum-of-two who developed Parkinson’s disease in her twenties has described how she ‘was healthy when I fell pregnant but came away with a life sentence’. 

Hayley Huxley was just 25 when she developed the illness, which normally doesn’t occur until people are in their sixties or older.

Now 30, she says the disease was brought out of its ‘dormant’ stage by the stress of having her first daughter Poppy.
Two months after giving birth she was unable to use her right hand and now has decreased mobility in her right leg.
The part-time school office assistant is now reliant on plumber husband Gareth, 34, and her mum.

She spoke out to raise awareness of Parkinson’s in people under 40, after becoming an ambassador for Spotlight YOPD charity.

Hayley Huxley when pregnant with Eli (Picture: SWNS)

Hayley, from Wales, said the disease has severely limited her ability to look after her children, saying she is even unable to dress her six-year-old Poppy and two-year-old daughter Eli.
One day the punishing illness will leave her immobile and racked with tremors.

The Parkinson’s Disease Society said that the hormonal changes and physical stress of pregnancy can worsen symptoms of the condition.
Hayley said: ‘To learn I have a degenerative condition as a mum in my twenties was a shock – I was healthy when I fell pregnant but came away with a life sentence.
‘Within months of having my second child my leg became stiff and painful for the first time and I knew that the births had to be linked to my condition.

Hayley Huxley with Gareth, Poppy and Eli (Picture: SWNS)

‘I can’t play rough and tumble with my children and one day may not be able hold them.
‘So many people assume only old people get this condition but I’m proof that’s not the case.’

From Pontypool, Gwent, she noticed her right arm was ‘stiff’ and she could not control it two months after giving birth.

She went to her GP but, due to her age, Hayley was not tested for Parkinson’s until a year later when she pushed for a scan by a neurologist at Nevill Hall Hospital, Wales.

Following her diagnosis, Hayley was put on 10 tablets a day to manage the pain and keep tremors at bay.

She was warned the condition could worsen with other pregnancies but she fell pregnant by accident in 2015 and decided to keep the baby.

Taken off medication for eight months and given monthly scans to moderate the pregnancy, her Parkinson’s spread after giving birth to Eli.

Four months after the stiffness in her leg meant she dragged it behind her.
Given a £200-a-month disability allowance to buy customised utensils and furniture to manage tremors and in September 2016 won a legal battle to increase the payments to £360.

In December she became an ambassador for Spotlight YOPD charity, which aims to raise the profile of Parkinson’s in under-40s.

In January 2016 she dropped her hours from fulltime to part-time and became an office assistant at the school so she can spend the day sitting down.
Hayley knows her condition may further impact her parenting as her children get older but says she would ‘never resent’ the birth of her children.

She said: ‘The disease was always there, the symptoms were always going to take hold at some point so I can’t resent them.
‘The children make the pain and stiffness bearable.’

Hayley with family (Picture: SWNS)

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