A helping hand for inspirational Harvey
Published by Bobbie Hough for City West Housing Trust in Housing
(L to R) Mum Emma and son Harvey are joined by City West Neighbourhood Officer Lucy Hooton at their new home in Salford
The family of a brave toddler with an extremely rare skin condition which causes a birthmark to grow inside his body has praised a local housing trust for helping to make his life easier.
Two year old Harvey Malkin from Little Hulton in Salford is one of only 100 children in the world to have Neurocutaneous Melanosis. The condition means he has birthmarks covering part of his body, with one of them growing on Harvey’s brain and affecting his speech and balance.
The incurable condition requires mum Emma and dad Gary to take Harvey for plastic surgery twice a year at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to remove the worst of the external birth marks, and for regular MRI scans.
He also needs a shower every day and requires the application of special creams and lotions, to stop his fragile skin from drying out.
The family, which also includes eight month old daughter Miyah, had been living at an army barracks in Yorkshire until last year, where Gary served as a Private working in logistics.
However, after Gary’s service came to an end in December 2012 the family were keen to move home to Salford to live near Gary’s parents, who would be able to provide extra support for Harvey.
After hearing of the family’s story City West Housing Trust worked closely with Emma and Gary to find them a property near to Harvey’s grandparents – and even installed a new shower, free of charge, to make the Malkin’s daily routine a little easier.
The entire move was arranged in just a few weeks, and the family say they are delighted to be back home in Salford.
Emma said: “When Harvey was born, we knew nothing about his condition, as it is so rare. It hadn’t shown up in any scans, and even the hospital staff didn’t know at first what it was. We’ve gradually learned more and more, and have met families from other parts of the UK going through the same thing as us, which has been a real comfort.
“Harvey has had things pretty tough since birth, but he’s a really bright, cheeky little boy and a joy to us all. He’s now going to nursery every morning and has started eating by himself. He’s also seeing a speech and language therapist, and has begun to talk a little bit, which has been wonderful. Every time he says a new word, we are all amazed and thrilled. We’re so proud of him.
“Moving back to Salford has made a huge difference to the family. We have an extra network of support and City West were fantastic in finding us a place. They even fitted a new shower for us as the property available didn’t have one. It means I no longer have to take Harvey out in the cold every night to get a shower at his nana’s. The City West staff were great, and we’re very happy with the results.”
City West staff keep in regular contact with the family to ensure that they are receiving all of the support they need. The housing association recently fitted a new side gate and cleared the back garden of the property to create a safe environment for Harvey to play in.
Matt Jones, Assistant Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods, from City West Housing Trust said: “Harvey is one of the bravest children we have ever met, and his parents are equally inspiring. We were only too happy to help in finding them a property.
“Taking a daily shower is an essential way for Harvey to keep fit and healthy. We’re thrilled that we’ve been able to make life that little bit easier for Harvey and his parents.”
Harvey’s condition is a type of Congenital Melanocytic Naevus (CMN) – which is characterised by brown birthmarks. Single small CMN are found in one per cent of all newborn babies. Large, multiple CMN are far more unusual, occurring in around 1 in 20,000 births, while CMN growing within the body (Harvey’s condition) are rarer still.
The Malkin family have been helped to cope with their son’s condition through the charity Caring Matters Now. The organisation supports families via a network of trained individuals, organises social events so that parents can get to know one another, and shares news about latest research into the condition. Further information can be found at www.caringmattersnow.co.uk
READ NEXT »