HUDSON Shorter is riding his bike without training wheels and kicking a football – activities most boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy cannot do.
The five-year-old is helping to find a way for people to feel less side effects when they need steroids for health conditions.
Hudson is one of six Australian boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy to take part in a worldwide clinical trial of Vamorolone, regarded as a designer corticosteroid, to help slow progression of the degenerative disease.
Initial trial results are show increased muscle strength and endurance for boys on higher doses of the drug but reduced signs of side effects to traditional steroids used in treatment.
For Hudson, one year into the trial, this means no major weight gain, stunted growth, cushing of the face, or anger and behavioural issues that have affected his older brothers Max and William, who also have DMD.
Mum Belinda Shorter said the benefits had so far been promising.
“Hudson has not long started on a higher and he is doing exceptionally well he has started to ride his bike without training wheels, walk longer distances, kick a football and jump something most boys with DMD can not do,” Ms Shorter said.
“We are beyond excited about this new steroid and what it means for our boys. The side effects of steroids are probably the worst part for our boys...they are really hard to deal not just for us parents but especially for the boys. They hate that they look different to their friends but Hudson hasn’t had any of those side effects and it’s been a lot easier to handle.”
Hudson qualified for the trial because he was aged between four and seven years old and had not previously been on steroids.
DMD is a genetic disorder, without cure, that almost exclusively affects boys and causes muscle degeneration and weakness, likely to leave boys in wheelchairs by age 12.
Max and William Shorter were both diagnosed with the condition in December 2013, then aged four and three years old. The Shorters learned Hudson also had DMD 18 months later.
Ms Shorter said Hudson was handling demands of the trial well.
“We have an amazing nurse who runs the trial, Jemima, she is just wonderful. Hudson loves to visit her every couple of months when we have to go to the Royal Children’s Hospital,” Ms Shorter said. “He is relaxed with her it makes the appointments so much easier.”
The Shorters continue to be humbled by the community support they receive on their journey.