Lubbock toddler fighting fatal disease

Lubbock toddler fighting fatal disease

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A Lubbock family continues their battle with Tay Sachs disease, a 100 percent fatal disease in children that their 18-month-old son has been diagnosed with.

The Armstrong family says they want to bring awareness to the deadly disease, and remind families that a test is available.

Sterling Armstrong was diagnosed with the disease when he was just a few months old, and since then his parents have been watching new symptoms pop up. Most children diagnosed with Tay Sachs are only expected to live until they are 5 years old.

“You see regressions in milestones-- he stops being able to sit and rollover to all he can do now is lay on the floor," says his dad, Marcus Armstrong.

For a baby to develop Tay Sachs both parents have to be a carrier, and even then there is only a 25 percent chance that the baby will develop the disease. So it is possible for families to go generations without ever knowing that the gene is being carried in their family.

With this disease, even happy moments can become scary. ""There is a thing called a laughing seizure, it is just uncontrollable laughter and were fairly certain along with the neurologist that he had one recently, it sometimes scary when he laughs sometimes. You don’t know if he’s laughing because he finds something funny, or because a seizure is happening," Armstong says.

There is a test parents can run to see if their baby will have Tay Sachs while still in the womb, something Sterling’s parents say they didn’t know of at the time.

“This is our first child and you typically have the dream of wanting more kids,” Sterling’s mother Amber Armstong said. “Not knowing if we do have another kid, what are his chances of getting are, and is it going to happen again? Are we going to have to go through this whole scare again."

Even with all of the surprise symptoms, the Armstrong family says one of the biggest surprises has been from the community.

“What’s really surprised me are the people who have come together to help us. You know friends and family and complete stranger to help make sure this little guy has everything he needs, and that he’s taken care of.”

The Armstrong family has a GoFundMe account to help with Sterling’s medical costs. If you would like to donate, CLICK HERE.

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