Gemma Owen's mum, Louise, was left emotional during Loose Women as her children, Gemma and James, spoke about James' rare condition, Stargardt.
Louise sat while the pair opened up on Monday's show, 23 October, about James being considered blind by the age of just 13.
Stargardt is a rare genetic eye disease that happens when fatty material builds up on the macula — the small part of the retina needed for sharp, central vision.
As part of the interview, panellists Ruth Langsford, Brenda Edwards, Janet Street-Porter, and Kéllé Bryan spoke to James about his dreams of becoming a professional football player like his dad, England legend Michael Owen.
The 17 year old explained: “I get asked all the time 'do I play football' and it's heart-breaking because when I was younger I dreamed of being a footballer like my dad, because he was my inspiration. But I have found new passions and I am a lot happier now.”
After James opened up, Louise admitted that it was very hard to deal with the diagnosis at first, as she said: “To begin with, my husband's [Michael] very optimistic. The glass is half always half full.
“But for me, the thought of there not being any treatment at the moment or any cure was quite hard to deal with and also knowing that progressively the condition was going to get worse.”
Love Island star Gemma, 20, also shared how it impacted her growing up, as she admitted that she became a “protective” big sister.
She told the show: “I think at the start it was a little bit of a struggle, he had a few early years quite frustrated, but he got to grips with it and is embracing it now.
“I am the protective big sister, and seeing his mates having fun and games with him, I did get protective sometimes.”
In 2019, football icon Michael spoke to The Times about his son’s diagnosis and how it has impacted his desire to play football, as he said: “He will never be a footballer. My son's got an eye condition. I've never said this. I don't want a big headline. Clinically, he's blind. He's got Stargardt disease, a degeneration of his retina.
“I used to go and watch him and b*****k him about his positioning. He can't see the ball until it's five yards away. As much as every father wants their son to play, it is almost a relief to me.”
Louise and Michael are also proud parents to Emily Owen, 15, and Jessica Owen, 13.
Source: Read Full Article