Are We Alone? Daughter with Genetic Deletion on Chromosome 15

My daughter Amanda has a genetic deletion (monosomy) on chromosome 15 (q21.2-q22.3). When she was first diagnosed in 1999, there was very little information on her syndrome. We were given one article starting with “There have been only four reports of deletions in the more distal 15q2 region, 2-4 all involving severely handicapped infants.” Looking at the chart, two had passed away by their third birthday. Discouraging news for new parents.

Amanda not only survived her third birthday, she thrived. Although her development was delayed, she continued to grow and remain healthy. She started walking at 5 1/2. When tested at age 10, her development was on par with a typical 2-year old, causing her to be classified as “severely delayed.” Still she was progressing and, most importantly, she was healthy and happy.

However, we have been alone this entire time. We have never met anyone with a similar chromosomal deletion. There are no support groups when you are one of six known cases of a disorder. There are no marathons for financial support. No special T-shirts or car magnets. No one to talk to.

Amanda’s life has been a series of unknowns. Will she walk? Will she talk? Will she need surgery for this or that? Without a network of other families, we’ve just had to wait and see, always hoping for the best. I worry because the ages of the survivors in the paper we were given were 15 months, 14 years and 18 years old. The article came out in 1990. The oldest would now be forty. I hope they are all well, with happy and fulfilling lives. But there is no way of knowing.

Recently I’ve noticed what seems to be a slight deterioration in Amanda’s overall health. It is nothing serious, but enough to concern me. For instance, she had several clonic/tonic seizures (grand mal). I wish I had someone who had been through this before me. Someone who could say,”it’s okay- it’s just part of the syndrome sometimes.” But I don’t.

I’ve always considered Amanda one of the lucky ones because she survived infancy. I assumed that if she made it past that critical period she would be more or less fine. Now, I’m starting to wonder what to expect. I wonder how those other survivors are doing. What are their lives like? Do they have the same symptoms? Have they had the same surgeries?

I’ve been on a quest to find other survivors. I was thrilled to find two with close chromosomal deletions. One is a boy with a nearly identical deletion. Happily, he is also 13- and luckily he has far milder symptoms. He is walking, mainstreamed in school and very healthy. Encouraged, I realized that where there was one there might be another. I researched every rare chromosome group I could find on the Internet. I believe that I have located four more individuals with a similar deletion. That brings the number of documented instances of this particular chromosomal deletion to eleven!

I have no idea how old these children are or what they have been through. I’ve been able to get some contact information, so I’ve reached out to them. Hopefully they will respond. I hope I hear from the other families. I hope we can share stories and provide support for one another. I am so grateful that we are not alone anymore. Maybe we can get T-shirts or host a marathon someday.

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Global Genes Comments

  1. I have an 18 year old son with deletions on #1 and #15. Many challenges through the years but I’m blessed to report he is a senior in high school and will be getting a diploma. He also has PVL ( a brain injury from birth). I’m not well liked in the school system because of the constant advocating on his behalf. It would be very easy to give up but I want to encourage eachother to keep challenging these kids and supporting them. They are gifts that should be treasured. Not sure at this date and time where my son’s life will end up, but I would never forgive myself if all avenues weren’t explored and attempted. Love and support to all of you!

  2. Big mama says:

    Hi my son whose 9 yrs old was diognised with delition 15 in September last year we are going to see a genetic dr nxt wk does any1 know what they will do when we get there please any help would be greatly appreciated

    • Just got told today my grand daughter has delition 15. Her development had been slow but she is only 19months! First time I had heard of this we have a meeting on the 3rd if July

  3. Am 37 year old man and have chromosome 15 deletion . Just been told I have it along with my son who is 5 months old we have no idea what to expect or what is going to happen any advice would be helpful thanks

  4. Brenda Wright says:

    Hi Amanda, I have a granddaughter that has the 15q missing she will be 4 in July. She is just starting to walk,she does make sounds but no talking yet. When she was born she had a twin but died after 5 days of birth.her mother and I have started sign language with her it seems she understands but no movement with her hands yet. We also wonder is she will ever talk.She is on medicine for seizures, and just had her tube pulled from having to be tube feed, so she is eating , she has to be feed still can not hold her spoon. But on a happy note she did use her potty chair for the first time yesterday so we are so excited.

  5. Deanna Bajtka says:

    My son also missing # 15. Your not alone.

  6. Cheryl Berardi says:

    My name is Cheryl & I have 4 children with a chromosome 16p13.11 deletion. They are all affected with learing disabilities, social & behavioral issues as well as developmental delays. I know with the right supports being put into place, they are thriving & working to their potential & that is all I can ask for. I know sometimes it can be overwhelming & disappointing at times, but they are all “unique” & special in their own way!! Stay encouraged & always remain positive!!!!❤

  7. My little sister was diagnosed with Chromosome 15 deletion. & we still haven’t yet found someone that has the same. & willing to meet others on what our family goes through as well with my sister. She turned five & taking her to therapy every week. Please feel free to email me. I’d love to be added to these groups & my little sister make new friends!

  8. Hi Amanda, my daughter has 15q25.2 Deletion! I have a page on FB under 15q Deletion where you will find many other 15q families! You are definitely not alone! 🙂

  9. I work with a 21 year old man who has this exact deletion. He has far more serious disabilities- he is wheelchair bound, unable to talk or walk, has severe learning disabilities and requires full support with all aspects of his life. He also has complex epilepsy (Lennox gestaut). Despite all of this he is a wonderfully happy young man!

  10. I have 2 children who have 15q26.3 deletion. I’m currently on the unique website which does have a few with the same deletion as my 8 yr old and 13 yr old but looking for more out there and would like to share past exsperiences

  11. Hi, I have a son with a rare and only one with his chromosomes. He has three chromosome 2’s, the third chromosome 2 is on the bottom of his second chromosome 15. Would love to find someone similar to his. He’s almost 8years old and he’s small. Looks like a 2yr old. Doesn’t walk, talk, or play with toys. Luckily he drinks from a sippy cup so no feeding tube but he can’t chew food so he drinks nutren jr. He also has siezures, he’s had them at 5monyhs old and they stopped until he was 13months old and has had them ever since.

  12. Doreen Robertson says:

    Has ny of your children had some kind of growth attached to the spinal cord?

  13. Doreen Robertson says:

    You are not alone with Amanda I’m a 50 year old mom with a 6 year old daughter with the deletion we dont know what to expect but we have to hold our heads up and keep it together for our children no matter what they face its all about them and the love they deserve

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