Meet the nominees for The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards – MEL DIXON, charity worker
Mother-of-three Mel is nominated for the Unsung Hero award for setting up a charity which has managed to raise almost £200,000 in just a few months.
In March of this year, she launched Cure DHDDS to help families who receive the devastating diagnosis of an incredibly rare genetic disorder.
After years of worrying symptoms and struggling to get a diagnosis, her eldest son Tom, 13, and youngest child, Rosie, eight, were diagnosed with DHDDS (dehydrodolichyl diphosphate synthase) – a rare genetic mutation that causes tremors, epilepsy and learning difficulties. Ataxia and can include autism, anxiety and psychosis.
Only 70 cases are known worldwide.
Mel, 44, a former PR worker who is also mum to Harry, 11, said: “As a parent you think a diagnosis is the start of improvement; that your child has access to treatment and help. But in our case, as in everyone else with DHDDS, that is not the case.”
The family were told there was no treatment and that Tom and Rosie’s condition would progress.
But Mel was determined not to give up.
She said: “I thought if medication can’t make a difference at the moment then I will.”
After researching possible treatments around the world, Mel founded the charity Cure DHDDS and has so far raised more than £185,000 – with a target of £500,000 – to fund research and support other families.
Mel, pictured with Tom and Rosie, said: “I firmly believe that if we continue as we are, we could reach a point in the future where DHDDS is treatable, even if it is not curable. It’s simply about giving hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.”