Hi, my name is Jiří Matyáš, I was born on June 4, 2019 and I suffer from spinal muscular atrophy type I.
My story began long before I was born. Did you know that only one in approximately every 40 people carries an abnormality in the SMN1 gene? These people are carriers of SMA, but most carriers are unaware they carry this defective recessive gene and have no health problems.
It was two of these people who met in 2008 – they were my mom and my dad. At that time, they had no idea such a serious illness like spinal muscular atrophy existed, and they dreamed of creating a happy, joyful future and planned on having a large family with at least three children.
In August 2015, my mother and father got married and within a year they had their first son, my older brother Honzík. Since he was born, Honzík has always been a very energetic and active child and loves discovering the world. He developed very quickly and was learning to stand at eight months old and started walking before his first birthday. His active nature still continues today, he is always doing something or running somewhere, and even my parents struggle to keep up with him!
On June 4, 2019, I was born and entered the world as a calm and relaxed baby. After the experience raising my brother, my parents were glad that I was a calm and easy-going baby and enjoyed having a new member of the family. Despite my quiet nature, my movement development was relatively quick early on. When I was two months, I impressed my doctor by keeping my head on my tummy like a three-month-old, and I started rolling on my tummy alone at the age of four months. I was also able to roll barrels!
Things started to change in early December 2019, when I was 6 months old. Since then, I started rolling onto my belly less and less often. Some days I was more mobile than others, and my parents were not worried at that time thinking that my laid-back nature might be why I was progressing more slowly. At the same time, I was getting my vaccinations so my parents thought this might be another reason why my development was slowed and they were convinced that I would catch up soon.
Over time, however, I rolled onto my belly less and less frequently until I laid almost exclusively on my back and only rolled onto my belly by chance. At the beginning of February 2020, my parents were very concerned that something wasn’t right, so they began consulting with the doctor and rehabilitation therapy was recommended to speed up my development. As a result of the delay due to long wait times for medical appointments as well as coronavirus unfolding, it was very difficult to have access to rehabilitation. Eventually we were successful and in only one hour of physiotherapy my parents learned three exercises on how to train me to do a “tummy tuck.” They practiced intensively with me at home, however my situation didn’t improve, quite the opposite happened.
In March, my parents were increasingly worried about me, and after consulting with the doctor again, they secured an assessment at the Children’s Neurological Outpatient Clinic in Domažlice, where on March 16 the doctor immediately recognized there was something more serious going on. Things began to rapidly change and eight days later I went to the Center for Rare Neuromuscular Diseases at the Department of Pediatric Neurology (2nd Medical Faculty, Charles University and Motol University Hospital). There I was immediately sent for genetic testing and exactly a week later, on March 31, we learned the devastating diagnosis of SMA1. At that moment everything changed for me and my family. I stayed in the hospital for further examination and the first administration of Nusinersen treatment (Spinraza), which took place on April 1 before I was 10 months old.
My whole family is extremely grateful to all the doctors and medical staff who have contributed to such a rapid diagnosis and treatment procedure. Due to the immense efforts they have made, this led to the accelerated start of my medical treatment.
First of all, I would like to thank you for joining me and my family in the fight against spinal muscular atrophy and for your interest in looking at my website and reading about my story. I believe that increasing the awareness of this disease and discussing it more in society will make it easier for me and others affected by SMA in the future. This initiative will make it possible for me to live a dignified and meaningful life, and will subsequently contribute to my self-sufficiency and well being. I will most likely never be able to walk without assistance, and as a child in a wheelchair I will face many challenges in life. Therefore, thank you for being here on my website and for being interested in my story and learning about this disease, and I hope you will feel inclined to share something about this disease with your loved ones. I will be forever grateful if you share my story with your family, friends and acquaintances.
A financial contribution, in any amount, will make a huge impact in my life. Any small donation will make a difference, because as they say, helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person. With my illness, I will need all kinds of assistance and rehabilitation for the rest of my life, and the price these treatments will range from tens to hundreds of thousands. Unfortunately, these are not one-time treatments, as the therapy and tools that I need will have to change over time as I grow.
I will also need rehabilitation and physiotherapy frequently and the majority of these treatments are not covered by health insurance. In the future I will also need to arrange barrier-free housing, a special car, etc. For my family, this is financially unmanageable in the long run.
I will be very grateful for any contribution that will help me to live a life that is still full of joy, happiness and possibility. I know it won’t be an easy journey, but I’m ready to push my limits as far as my body allows and maybe a little further – and that’s my dream. If you decide to be a part of my journey, I will be forever grateful, so thank you in advance for any amount that will bring me a little closer to fulfilling this dream.
IBAN: CZ72 2010 0000 0026 0180 4767
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