Andrew Taylor celebrated his 50th birthday this year.
This is a big year for anyone, but especially for Taylor, who was told he would not make it to the age of 21, let alone 50.
Andrew Taylor was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy as a young boy.
This genetic condition occurs in only one out of every 5,000 young boys.
It slowly causes the muscles to waste away and eventually affects breathing and a person’s heart. There is no known cure.
Graeme Morgan, Andrew Taylor’s pediatrician, delivered the grim news and told the family that the young boy would only live until 18 or 20 years of age and then, “that would be it.”
Andrew’s family was blown away by the news and felt as if the world had “absolutely shattered.”
They decided to be supportive and “get on with it [life].”
The way the Taylor family saw it, they had two choices-they could pretend his disease did not exist or they could continue living life with alertness, zeal, and happiness.
They decide to do the latter, and Andrew says he followed their example.
Now, Andrew is on a ventilator and has tubes for feeding. But even now, his calm and laid back demeanor are evident: “It’s quite a hell of a way to live, I guess…But I’ve lived a pretty good life as well.”
As Andrew looks back on his fifty years of life, he feels as if he’s done quite a bit and been very happy with his relationships, activities, schooling, hobbies, and career.
Andrew truly has done a lot in his life. He has a great relationship with his sister and they even lived together when they were younger. Andrew recalls how they did regular teenager things together and they went out to nightclubs and had fun.
Andrew did keep up with the main way his condition is treated- by doing physiotherapy.
He also decided to stay as independent as possible and moved out of his family’s home in his twenties. Andrew has worked as a data entry specialist for 18 years.
For his 50th birthday, his family threw him a surprise birthday celebration, even inviting the doctor who made the initial diagnosis.
Professor Graeme Morgan says he is surprised and excited that Andrew has exceed his life expectancy.
Now life expectancy for someone with Andrew’s disease is 30 years old, maybe even 40, but even today living until 50 is surprising and truly exceptional.
Medical professionals are hoping to see a cure for the condition in the next 5 or 10 years, but for the time being there are treatments to increase strength, the ability to walk, help breathing, and increase life expectancy.
The doctors have several hypotheses for Andrew’s long life expectancy.
He has exceeded expectations in every way and it may be because he had a more mild form of the disease than doctors initially thought. His family took a very upbeat bright approach to his condition.
Finally, Andrew also has a great attitude and is calm, rarely complains, and has a positive viewpoint on life.
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