St Albans school turns red for Potters Bar pupil Hugo
PUBLISHED: 16:32 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:42 24 May 2019
A school in St Albans encouraged students to dress in red in a show of support for one of its Potters Bar pupils who has a rare genetic disorder.
Seven-year-old Hugo Whatton, who attends St Columba's College, has vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (VEDS).
The disease causes faulty collagen, which means his vessels and organs could potentially rupture at any moment, his mum Victoria told this paper.
"It's like living with a ticking time bomb as we don't know what each day holds," she said.
Hugo's condition has been a strain on the Whatton family from the beginning, with Victoria explaining that just after being born he "suffered a ruptured bowel" that had to be operated on.
"He now lacerates his skin badly when he fall," she said.
"We know as he gets older and his body has more stresses and strains on it, we will have to worry about ruptures and heart issues."
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The most recent accident, last May, saw Hugo with a cast on one leg and a heavily bandaged other leg after a small fall, meaning he had to use a wheelchair to get around.
"The school were fantastic at accommodating him back and everyone rallied around to help him - but he just gets on with it with no fuss," said Victoria.
And mum Victoria has been full of praise for the school's latest show of support - helping St Columba's organise a non-school uniform day in conjunction with staff and students to raise money for vascular EDS charity Annabelle's Challenge.
"We were overwhelmed with all the support from the school, but it goes to show the lovely warm and helpful columban community that it is," said Victoria.
St Colomba's teacher Charlotte Shannon-Little, who organised the day and a bake sale to raise money, is keen to support the Whatton family in anyway she can.
"As a valued member of our Columba community, we were very keen to support a charity which we know is close to the Whatton family's heart," said Ms. Shannon-Little.
The day has seen hundreds of pounds collected, and Victoria predicts more will be raised thanks to the teachers' generous support.
Victoria's brother-in-law Jason Brimson is also climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in August and organising the first EDS autumn ball in October to support Annabelle's Challenge.
To find out more about the charity visit annabelleschallenge.org. You can also donate on its JustGiving page here: justgiving.com/annabelles-challenge.