Mother of little Antonis: "We feel stronger… This year will be the best Christmas"

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After two months in the US, little Antonis and his family returned victorious and stronger than ever in Cyprus. Antonis, who became the child of Cyprus and managed to unite society and state, received gene therapy for type 1 spinal muscular atrophy and now everyone is smiling and optimistic about the future.

The family of the little fighter will live the happiest Christmas. They feel as they say they are stronger, more optimistic and now they wish and pray to God to help Antonis get well over time.

The mother of the little hero, Hara Thomas, in an interview with REPORTER sends her own message to the whole world that embraced Antonis.

-You returned to Cyprus after two months in the USA. After the treatment, did you see any improvement in Antonis' health?
Of course, there is an improvement, but the doctor considers it an important development that fills us with optimism for the future. Primarily, in terms of his breathing that seems to be improving but also his mobility, which shows us signs that he will do very well.

-With the treatment that Antonis received, has the disease passed?
The disease remains. This gene therapy has actually helped to produce the substance that was lacking in the body and is responsible for muscle movement. So, once this substance is present in the body, the muscles begin to move and the child begins to regain his strength.

However, because they are muscles and need time to strengthen, we want to give Antonis his time, do his physiotherapy, his speech therapy and slowly start to wake up the muscles and regain his mobility.

-Now will Antonis receive any medical treatment?
With gene therapy, SMA 1, which accounts for 80% of its motility, is corrected. The other 20% is the drug that Antonis received before his treatment. Doctors recommend that the child take this medicine for a short time, until he gets over it and gets well. Then continue with his physiotherapy.

-What were the doctors' messages from the first days you arrived in the US until the day you left?
The doctors loved Antonis from the first day they saw him, because he is sociable and charismatic in terms of communication. He won everyone over. The doctor was happy because Antonis' state of health was in excellent condition and the neurologist did not expect him to encounter this.

Antonis, while we were in Boston, was examined by all the specialties of the doctors, in order to regulate some things, which, thank God, were regulated and we are keeping them literally in Cyprus now. The pediatric neurologist is really optimistic because he has seen signs of improvement from the first days. This fills us all with optimism for the future.

Even the mobility of his feet is a harbinger that they have not suffered from atrophy and we still hope, as the legs show a slower improvement. It is the part of the body that will be more difficult to improve than the other parts.

-When will you need to go back to the US and why?
We were in Boston for more than two months and saw a bunch of specialized doctors, especially for Antonis' illness. There, we participated in the special SMA clinic that takes place once a month at Boston's Children's Hospital. We have received a series of instructions, we have learned many things from the doctors there, some things have been corrected and the experts recommend a re-examination in about nine months.

This will not be done by special procedures, because Antonis will be able to travel on a regular flight. He will see his doctors, he will be examined and they will give us instructions on how to proceed. This is very positive.

-Did you have any contact with the family of little Panagiotis-Raphael?
We met Panagiotis-Raphael on a Sunday, but we couldn't meet again because the schedule of both families was heavy. Also, the weather in Boston was not the best, it was snowing and we couldn't find each other again. Also, we were afraid of our own shadow, we couldn't take the children for a walk in such weather. We were all very limited in our movements, but we have seen him, we have exchanged views, we talk every day and we wish the best for our Panagiotis.

-You came to Cyprus a few days before Christmas. Has hope been reborn in you?
Of course. I think it will be the most beautiful Christmas this year, because we have really done everything medically and now we wish and pray that God will help our Antonis to get well over time.

-How do you feel after this adventure?
Stronger. I think the difficulties in life are to strengthen people and we are happy that Antonis managed to unite society and the state and has won everyone over. We receive so many messages of love and support from the world and they send us many prayers that fill us. We do not know how to return it to the world and we wish the best for everyone.

-Antonis became the child of Cyprus and we are all anxious about his health condition. What message do you want to send to the world?
Our message to everyone is thankful, for all the love and support, because without this dynamic response we would not be able to receive the great gene therapy that will change the life of our Antonis.

Our message and wish is for Antonis to be the child who will open the way for the other children who will come so that as a Cypriot society we can respond in time and heal these children, because there is a cure, there is a future, there is a perspective. and I hope that a cure will be found for every disease and illness and that there will be no more pain.

Source: reporter