When Angelina Lati was in year eight, her life changed. She began stumbling on stage and experiencing fainting spells and seizures. At age 14, she was diagnosed with Lafora Disease, which is a form of childhood dementia.
Many Australians don’t know much about childhood dementia, which is progressive brain damage that starts before the age of 18. There are over 70 types of the disease, each caused by changes in the DNA because they are genetic diseases.
The signs and symptoms themselves are similar to those you might have seen in an elderly relative suffering from dementia. They include for example, lack of concentration, memory loss, personality and behavioural changes, and even loss of speech and mobility.
Since The Greek Herald last spoke with Angelina’s mum, Niki Markou, in 2021 about her diagnosis, Angelina has been spending time at the Manly Adolescent and Young Adult Hospice.
Located at the former Manly Hospital Site at North Head, the newly constructed hospital is Australia’s first dedicated service for 15 to 24-year-old patients with life-limiting illnesses.
Families stay in rooms inside the facilities and can speak with social workers, clinical psychologists, bereavement counsellors, and psychiatrists. For many families, this is the first time they could live together.
“We have relief here… and fun. It’s beautiful. It’s like we have a life now,” Niki told The Daily Telegraph about their family’s time in the hospice with Angelina.
“It’s like a family. And that’s what she needs, you know, because she needs that comfort and, you know, especially when you’re scared.”
Source: The Daily Telegraph