Plight of Leeds baby born with 12 fingers and 12 toes gathers global support

Seven-month-old  Jacob Duffy, from Middleton, Leeds.
Seven-month-old Jacob Duffy, from Middleton, Leeds.
0
Have your say

A Leeds baby who was born with 12 fingers and 12 toes has captured hearts across the globe.

Seven-month-old Jacob Duffy amazed doctors when he was born with 24 digits last year.

Rachael Hendry from Middleton with her seven-month-old son Jacob Duffy

Rachael Hendry from Middleton with her seven-month-old son Jacob Duffy

The adorable tot suffers from an undiagnosed complex syndrome which has left him with a hole in his heart and a number of eye conditions that have left him almost blind.

His doting family are now on a mission to raise thousands of pounds to create a sensory room in a bid to help aid the youngster’s development.

And their fundraising mission has already sent donations flooding in from as far afield as Brazil from people touched by their story.

Mum Rachael Hendry said:“He’s very lovable.

“If you meet him you would fall in love with him but strangers have donated as much as £50 – it is just amazing.

“It’s really surreal to think that people are interested and care about Jacob.”

The family from Middleton, Leeds, are hoping to raise around £15,000 for the equipment for Jacob’s sensory room.

His devoted mum Rachael and dad John Duffy have had little indication about what lies ahead for their son’s future.

But Rachael added: “He’s here and that’s more than some people have.

“He’s quite happy, very lovable and he’s lovely.”

**********************

It was a straight forward pregnancy for Rachael.

But doctors were left stunned when she gave birth to her son.

Adorable Jacob Duffy was born with 12 fingers and 12 toes – but it soon became apparent that the tot also had a number of other health conditions.

Jacob, who is now seven-months-old, has an undiagnosed complex syndrome which has left him with a hole in the heart and eye conditions.

He suffers from a one-in-10,000 condition called coloboma which causes gaps in the structure of the eye.

Jacob, from Middleton, also has other complications with his sight, including cataracts, that have rendered him almost blind.

Jacob’s mum Rachael Hendry, 24, was quickly contacted by friends and family who wanted to raise money for Jacob, which snowballed into a fundraising campaign for a sensory room earlier this year.

And the tot’s story has captured hearts across the globe.

His plight has seen more than £2,000 flooding in from around the world including support from Brazil.

Rachael told he YEP: “I’m so surprised, every day something else happens.

“I even had a Colombian radio presenter asking for a radio interview.

“It’s really surreal to think that people are interested and care about Jacob.

“He’s very lovable and if you meet him you would fall in love with him but strangers have donated as much as £50 – it’s just amazing.”

And one of the youngster’s biggest fans is his two-year-old sister Amelia.

His parents Rachael and John Duffy, 28, have been given little indication of what lies ahead and have applied to join the Syndrome Without A Name (SWAN) UK support group.

Doctors expect the hole in his heart to heal and the family is seeking advice on having his extra digits removed in the coming months.

But his family say the next few years are essential for the development of Jacob’s limited sight.

His eye problems prompted both an emotional response from his parents and a desire to give Jacob a sensory room featuring fibre optic lights, bubble tubes and other equipment that would stimulate him.

They hope to raise £15,000.

Rachael, a customer service worker, said: “It was awful, horrific.

“To have a baby and then to be told straight away he’s got those eye conditions and most likely will be blind makes you think how difficult his life will be compared to hers [Amelia’s].

“He’s here and that’s more than some people have.

“He’s quite happy, very lovable, he’s lovely.”

A fundraising evening, featuring face painting, games, a raffle and live entertainment, has been organised for Jacob’s appeal at Beeston Sports and Social Club on Friday, August 28, from 7pm.

Tickets cost £5 per adult and £1 per child.

To donate to Jacob’s sensory room visit: fundrazr.com/campaigns/9yxE8?

MANY HAVE NO FULL DIAGNOSIS

Jacob Duffy is one of 6,000 disabled British children born every year who have no overall diagnosis for their condition.

The seven-month-old, referred to as a SWAN child (Syndrome Without A Name), has amassed a long list of health problems during his short life but has no prognosis and no proper diagnosis.

The SWAN UK initiative offers support to around 1,500 families of disabled children who have undiagnosed conditions.

The initiative launched in 2009 to help families become part of a community. Visit undiagnosed.org.uk.

Michael Tennant.

Police had to use stinger to stop burglar during stolen car chase