For 18 years Katie Price has unwaveringly nursed her son Harvey through a myriad of devastating health issues.
Last night, a frantic Katie turned to fans for help after revealing her son’s weight has risen to 28 and a half stone.
With gyms closed, the 42-year-old former glamour model pleaded for help to find a treadmill and rowing machine to rent to help keep his weight under control.
“Through lockdown I have to make sure he can exercise at home, please help, DM me,” she told her Instagram followers.
This year has been a difficult one for Katie and her disabled son, who was left battling for life in intensive care after being struck down by an unknown bug in July.
Harvey was rushed to hospital with chest pains, breathing difficulties and a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius, leaving him at risk of organ failure. Thankfully, he made a full recovery.
Sadly, Katie is no stranger to living in fear for her son’s health. But when he was first born in 2002, she had no reason to suspect her little bundle of joy was anything but healthy.
It was only at his six-week check up that the first red flag was raised.
She previously told Loose Women: “I had a normal pregnancy – best one out of all of them actually.
“The health visitor came for the six week check and she said ‘is he smiling at you?’ and I said ‘no not really’.
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“I saw a doctor and was referred to an eye specialist. He shone a torch and all I remember is him saying ‘he’s blind’. We were left in the dark thinking what do we do?”
At first, doctors just thought he had a problem with his eyes, but by the time Harvey was nine months old, Katie was deeply concerned about the slow speed of his development.
Added to that, Harvey was constantly thirsty and gaining weight rapidly, leading to suggestions from other on her support group that he could be suffering from the rare disorder, septo-optic dysplasia (SOD).
Involving abnormal development of the optic nerve and hormonal disorders, it can cause brain damage if left untreated, and according to Katie, the first doctor she saw missed it.
It was only when she sought a second opinion that the diagnosis was confirmed, but by that point Harvey had already turned one and Katie believes the damage had been done.
“The hospital did admit it was their fault that when they did an MRI scan they missed out on his pituitary gland and starved him of the medication he needed which gave him a bit of brain damage,” she told Loose Women.
Her nightmare wasn’t over though, and in 2005 Harvey spent six weeks in Great Ormond Street hospital while medics searched for a reason for his weight gain.
Aged just three and a half, he weighed five and a half stone and was wearing clothes for 16 year olds – despite the fact he rarely ate.
The tot was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome – a genetic disorder that leads to excess eating and obesity – as well as diabetes inspipidus, autism, attention deficit disorder and oppositional defiance disorder which causes agression.
Katie has spoken of her son’s temper tantrums – which are caused by autism – revealing how he smashes televisions and head butts walls in a fit of rage over something minor.
“Little things p**s him off. If you have to skip the ads on YouTube when he’s trying to watch Peppa Pig, or a door bangs in the house, or the wind bangs the window, he’ll start head butting the walls,” she recently told The Sun.
“I’ll have to get a plasterer in after lockdown as he’s been punching the walls in my new house and it’s covered in holes.
“He can switch just like that.”
Meanwhile, Harvey’s conditions are so serious that he would die without medication and requires round-the clock care, something Katie’s mum Amy quit work to help with.
His father, former footballer Dwight Yorke, has only seen Harvey a handful of times according to Katie, who raised him as a single mum.
But it hasn’t been easy, especially with daughters Princess Tiaamii, 13, and Bunny, six, and sons Junior, 15, and seven-year-old Jett to look after as well.
And her devotion to Harvey has meant making sacrifices, particularly when it comes to time with her other kids.
She told Now magazine: “Sometimes Junior wants me to watch him play football on a Sunday but I can’t because Harvey doesn’t want to go.
“Junior understands that I can’t make Harvey go – he’ll smash the car up when I’m driving. But then I don’t want to leave Harvey with someone because I don’t want to be a failure.”
The diminutive star has also had to learn how to wrestle her son into a calming position in the middle of his violent tantrums and was unable to leave her younger children alone with him unsupervised.
And when the coronavirus outbreak struck, she locked down alone with Harvey to protect him and had to wait six long weeks before she could see her other children, who stayed with their dads.
For the former glamour model though, one of the hardest parts has been having others blame her for her son’s disability, which she has explained was a ‘one-in-a-million chance’.
“It’s no one’s fault… That’s why it’s still so upsetting when people say it’s my fault. It’s not,” said Katie, who was falsely accused of drinking during her pregnancy.
“I did go out. I was single, I was going out. But they’d get pictures of me coming out of the club looking drunk even though I was driving,” she added.
“I had lots of speculation with his problems, and I was blamed for my partying. I wasn’t drinking at all.”
But she worries constantly about her first born’s future, especially after he was rushed to hospital with chest pains and was found to have fluid on the lungs and an infection earlier this year.
Doctors have warned Katie that her son is at high risk of having a heart attack, and she admits she’s noticed a sharp decline in his health.
He can no longer fit in certain cars, rollercoasters or aeroplane seatbelts, and will steal food despite Katie’s best attempts to manage his diet.
While she desperately fears losing her son, her biggest worry is that she will go first, leaving him without a mother.
“I can’t see him living past 50 unless we sort his weight and his breathing out. I know it’s horrible to say, but I wish he’d go before me because he wouldn’t cope without me. He’d be so heartbroken and wouldn’t understand where I’d gone,” she told The Sun.