Birthday card appeal as Chichester man defies the odds to reach 30th birthday

An inspirational Chichester man, who wasn’t expected to reach his teenage years, is about to celebrate his 30th birthday. 

Luis Coward has an extremely rare health condition, which has left doctors mystified.

After her son was wrongly diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months, Luis’ mum Marie said the hardest part of his journey was when the family were told he wouldn’t reach his teenage years.

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“Knowing he might not be around soon was really heartbreaking,” Marie said. “He’s really determined to do everything.”

Marie is asking for people across the community to inundate Luis with cards on Sunday, November 29, as he will be unable to see his family due to lockdown restrictions

Determined is an understatement, as Luis has defied the odds, celebrating his 30th birthday at the end of the month. 

Marie, from Lavant, is now asking for people across the community to inundate Luis with cards on Sunday, November 29, as he will be unable to see his family due to lockdown restrictions.  

Marie said: “Covid came at a really bad time. Close family are not going to be able to go round and celebrate with him. I would love for him to get a huge pile of cards. There’s so many people he’s come across over the years who he has really inspired.

“He says hello to so many people in town and I wonder how he knows so many people. It would be so nice for people to acknowledge him and give him a boost.

“It’s not going to be the birthday he wanted so I just want him to know he’s not in his own and everyone is thinking about him.”

Describing her son as a ‘true hero’, Marie said Luis ‘doesn’t see himself as disabled’. 

She added: “He could be the only one in the world to have this condition. Not knowing what he has makes it really difficult. His muscles are continuing to deteriorate and his speech is getting worse. We have been told within a few years this will diminish completely. Maybe one day somebody will know what it is. His condition doesn’t allow him to do a lot of things but he doesn’t let anything get in his way.

“He will try everything and he’s a really funny guy.

“I want his house full of cards to tell him what a wonderful man he is and what an inspiration he is to everyone he meets. He has done things many of us take for granted but for him is is a huge task.”

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