A young Inishowen girl is encouraging everyone to wear yellow today for ‘Wishbone Day,’ the international awareness day for Osteogenesis Imperfecta.
Alice Boyd, was diagnosed with OI, also known as ‘Brittle Bones’ when she was just five-weeks-old after suffering a femur fracture.
The five-year-old, who will turn six on May 10th, has since sustained 30 fractures and has also undergone surgery.
However, Alice, from Sledrin is a bundle of energy and fun and does not let the condition hold her back or define her. She especially loves to dance and takes part in classes when she can at Buncrana’s Elite Dance Academy. She also adores going to school in St Oran’s NS, Cockhill, so much so that she once had surgery on a Monday, got home on a Thursday, went back to school for a few hours on the Friday and returned full-time the following Monday.
Her mum, Jacky, told the ‘Journal’ that while living with the condition can understandably be difficult, Alice “adapts to every situation.”
She undergoes treatment every three months in Sheffield to help make her bones stronger and this will continue until she’s 16. Alice’s bones will get stronger as she’s older, which hopefully will mean less fractures.
Jacky praised St Oran’s NS, who are “more than helpful” in making school life as ‘normal as possible’ for Alice and for educating the other children about the condition. Elite Dance Academy has also been “excellent” and will today hold an ‘Alice in Wonderland Tea Party’ for Wishbone Day. Jacky also praised the children’s ambulance service BUMBLEance for their help to Alice, who has five siblings.
Wishbone Day first began in Australia the year Alice was born and aims to raise awareness about OI, a genetic condition. The colour yellow represents the day.
OI is characterised by bones that break easily, often from little or no apparent cause and other symptoms include muscle weakness, hearing loss, fatigue, joint laxity, curved bones, scoliosis, brittle teeth and short stature, among others. The condition, caused by a genetic mutation which affects the body’s ability to produce collagen, can vary from person to person, so a classification system is in place. There are at least three children, including Alice, and one adult in Donegal living with the condition today. A person is born with OI and will have it through their lifetime.
Jacky runs an online parents support group and she urged any parent whose child is diagnosed with OI to get as much information and support as they can from the beginning. If you’d like more information, see www.brittlebone.org