Mum appeals for birthday cards for son who has ‘had enough of life’

Mother begs people to send birthday cards to her son after he revealed he’s ‘had enough of life’ due to a painful skin condition that’s fused his fingers and left him wheelchair-bound

  • Rhys Williams, of Bolton, turns 14 this month but has life-limiting skin condition
  • Suffers from severe epidermolysis bullosa, which results in painful skin blisters
  • Condition also causes sores and has even caused his fingers to fuse together
  • Mother Tanya, 36, says he just wants to ‘give up’ and doesn’t know what to do
  • She hopes cards will show him people care – after similar appeal at Christmas 

A heartbroken mother is appealing for birthday cards for her son battling a harrowing skin condition which has left him feeling like he’s ‘had enough of life’.

Tanya Williams, 36, is pleading for help to save her son, Rhys, who is losing hope having suffered from a rare life-limiting and agonising skin condition since he was born.

At birth his carers, Tanya and Rhys’ father Mark, 48, had no idea whether he would ever reach his teenage years.

Tanya Williams, 36, is pleading for help to save her son, Rhys, who is losing hope having suffered a rare life-limiting and agonising skin condition since he was born

The youngster is now 13-years-old, but is confined to a wheelchair because of severe epidermolysis bullosa, which results in painful skin blisters, sores and has even caused his fingers to fuse together.

Rhys, from Bolton, Lancashire, says he wishes ‘a butterfly would come and take him away’ – and his devastated mum is desperate to show him he has something to fight for.

Tanya said: ‘The last few months, he’s had enough of life.

‘He’s had enough of being in pain with the sores. He just wants to give up, he doesn’t want to fight anymore. What do you do as a mum?’


The youngster is now 13-years-old, but is confined to a wheelchair because of severe epidermolysis bullosa, which results in painful skin blisters, sores and has even caused his fingers to fuse together

Rhys, from Bolton, Lancashire, says he wishes ‘a butterfly would come and take him away’ – and his devastated mum Tanya (right) is desperate to show him he has something to fight for

Ahead of his 14th birthday on September 21, his mother is asking for cards to be sent Rhys’ way in the hopes of showing him that people care.

She added: ‘He’s such a happy boy most of the time but recently it’s a struggle to try and get through to him. I don’t think he can fight much longer, his life depends on this.

What is epidermolysis bullosa?

Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a general term used to describe a group of rare, inherited disorders that cause the skin to become very fragile.

Any trauma or friction causes patients’ skin to blister.

It affects around one in every 50,000 people worldwide.

Around 40 per cent of sufferers do not survive the first year and most do not live beyond five years old.

The three main types of the disorder include: 

  •  EB simplex – where blistering occurs in the upper layer of skin. This affects 70 per cent of sufferers
  • Dystrophic EB – where blistering occurs in the upper layer beneath the skin’s surface, which affects 25 per cent of patients
  • Junctional EB – where blistering occurs in the lower layer of the inner skin, which is usually the most severe form of the condition 

Most cases are obvious from birth.

EB occurs due to faulty genes, which can be inherited or occur spontaneously.

There is no cure.

Treatment focuses on relieving pain and treating complications, such as infections or skin cancer.

Source: NHS Choices and the National Organization for Rare Disorders

‘Rhys’ life revolves around school, Xbox, sleep, repeat. He doesn’t want to go out because he doesn’t like the way people look at him.

‘I don’t want him to be in pain anymore but I still want him to be here.’

The condition causes Rhys’ skin and internal tissue to blister at the slightest knock or rub, leaving him with painful open wounds.

He is now reliant on a wheelchair as he is unable to straighten his legs due to the fusing of the skin at the back of his knees.

His frail body is covered in bandages, which have to be changed three times a day to prevent him from developing any deadly infections.

Tanya said: ‘His condition causes his skin to fall off or blister at the slightest touch. His fingers have webbed and his hands fused.’

Rhys’s pain is so severe that he even had to take morphine to try and control it while his family are unable to hug him.

He is unable to play outside with friends, go on holidays, attend birthday parties and even go shopping in public with his family.

He also has to be fed through a tube as eating solid food can cause his gullet to blister.

The family have done similar appeals before, gathering Christmas cards from Bolton residents to decorate the house and cheer up Rhys.

Last time he was treated to hundreds of festive wishes and loved getting each one in the post.

Tanya said: ‘Every single card he received, he opened them with so much joy. He came home from school and he would see these Christmas cards.

The family have done similar appeals before, gathering Christmas cards from Bolton residents to decorate the house and cheer up Rhys

‘He got hundreds at a time. It showed him that he still needs to fight, that there’s people out there who do care and do love him.

‘Hopefully it can make him see that not everything is bad.’

Cards can be sent to Rhys at 40 Whalley Avenue, Bolton, BL1 5UD.  

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