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Mother Heartbroken After Learning Her Toddler Has Dementia

Metro via SWNS

It's estimated that every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia.

Dementia is a cognitive illness that affects the memory and other thinking skills, and often affects people over the age of 65.

Early onset of the disease can begin at the age of 30, but is treatable.

What many people don't know is that dementia can also affect kids. Childhood dementia, also known as Sanfilippo syndrome, affects one in every 70,000 children.

As someone who has watched my grandfather suffer with dementia, I can't imagine someone in their youth being affected by this awful disease.

One young mother is speaking out about how her two-year-old son's illness has affected her life, and her story will leave you heartbroken.

When Rebecca Griffiths's son, Reggie, was not cognitively developing like this peers and had a habit of rocking back and forth, she got worried.

The 25-year-old mother took her boy to a local hospital to get some answers.

At first, a pediatrician believed Reggie had autism, but further tests revealed the unthinkable.

Reggie was diagnosed with childhood dementia, a condition that has no cure, becoming the youngest person in the UK to be diagnosed with the disease.

Sanfilippo syndrome occurs when the body lacks the enzyme that controls the buildup of a toxic sugar in the brain.

Because of this progressive damage, it's referred to as dementia, according to Metro.

Griffith was told her boy may not live past the age of 20, which left her heartbroken.

"People ask me all the time how I cope and I just get on with things," the UK mother said. "I always said I wasn’t going to bury my head in the sand and hide."

That being said, the mother of three said she has to be strong for her other kids, and give Reggie "the best life possible."

"I want to make the most of him while he’s with me and give him amazing memories while he can recall them. There’s no point me falling apart."

Unfortunately, because Reggie's brain is "very damaged," his life span may be even shorter than what doctors estimate.

The little boy is believed to be in the second stage of the illness, where he exhibits non-verbal, hyperactive behavior.

By stage three, "that’s when you know they don’t have long left," Griffith said.

"The body shuts down and then he will forget everything he has learned. When people ask me to explain it the best way is its like dementia in a child.”

Although the future looks grim, Griffith hopes her story will shed light on this rare, incurable illness and encourage more research to be done.

"I know they won’t find a cure for Reggie but I hope one day they will and someone will be able to say ‘my child used to have that’.”

Share Griffith's story to raise awareness about this terrible disease! Hopefully one day we will find a cure.

[H/T: The Sun / Metro]

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.