Five-Year-Old Facing Fight Against Rare Condition That Causes His Face And Body To Swell Like A Balloon



A young boxing fan is facing the fight of his life against a rare condition that causes his face and body to swell up like a balloon.

Mckenzie Watson, five, has been diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome.

The condition causes people’s kidneys to ‘leak’ protein which leads to a build up of water in the body.

It also makes people more prone to infection, anaemia and thrombosis.

He has now begun chemotherapy in an attempt to treat the chronic kidney disorder which has no known cure.

The youngster’s mum, Antonia Watson, said the family knew something was wrong when his face and body became badly swollen in January.

“We took him to the doctors because he was so swollen,” said the 26-year-old, who manages a dog grooming salon.

“They sent us straight to the children’s hospital as soon as they saw him, but I think they thought it was just a kidney problem, rather than this rare condition.

“Since then he’s been in and out of hospital for protein transfusions.

“When he swells up he feels a bit groggy and he’s definitely not himself. When he’s really swollen his skin gets very tight.

“He gets abdominal pain too which can be quite serious because he’s more susceptible to infections.

“He had a lot of time off school and we were really worried that he would have to be held back. But luckily he’s a clever kid so that hasn’t happened.”

Mckenzie with mum Antonia and dad Andrew Watson.
Mckenzie with mum Antonia and dad Andrew Watson.

Nephrotic Syndrome can affect people of any age, but it’s usually first diagnosed in children aged between two and five years old.

Around 1 in every 50,000 children are diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome every year.

If left untreated the condition can develop into kidney failure, which mean that Mckenzie would then need a dangerous transplant operation.

Mckenzie’s water intake is strictly rationed and he has been taking steroids to suppress the condition, which have left the normally happy child subject to mood swings.

Mckenzie’s worried mum said: “He’s currently limited to 800ml of fluids per day, which is less than a pint-and-a-half, and he’s allowed very little salt in his diet.

“He’s become steroid dependent, and the steroids are really affecting him with mood swings.

“It makes him quite angry at times. One minute he’s laughing and the next he’s really upset and punching the sofa or banging on the floors.

“He’s never aggressive towards people though, and he’s always been a healthy, happy boy

“But he’s heartbroken to have this condition because he’s having to go into hospital so much and he’s no longer allowed his favourite foods like chicken nuggets and McDonald’s.

SWNS_BALLOON_CONDITION_01“Mckenzie started swimming classes just before he was diagnosed, but we’ve had to stop him going to those now because we read that it can cause relapses.

“He actually didn’t really enjoy swimming so he doesn’t mind, but it’s an important life skill that he’s missing out on really.”

The condition affects more boys than girls, and it tends to be more common in families with a history of allergies or those of an Asian background, although it’s unclear why.

Mckenzie’s father Andrew is preparing to do a charity skydive to fund research into the condition, which affects around 10,000 people in the UK each year.

Andrew is aiming to raise £2,000 to help find a cure for the condition.


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