The boy (8) who always feels hungry due to rare disorder

Caroline Crawford

THE family of a boy born with a rare genetic disorder which leaves him feeling constantly hungry have spoken out about his daily battle to live an ordinary life.

Oisin O'Neill (8) was born with Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS), which leaves him with poor muscle tone, intellectual difficulties and a constant hunger.

The part of the brain that controls feelings of fullness or hunger does not work properly in people with PWS.

His mum Ann today told how the family must keep a constant eye on his diet as Oisin cannot eat high-fat content foods.

"He was born with more fat in his body than muscle. He finds it hard to break down food. His body won't make much muscle so what you are born with is what you get.

"His diet is very strict and very limited. He's eight but he had to take portion sizes of a three-year-old. I have to tell Oisin he is full. He'll say to me; 'Am I done now, mum?' said Ann, from her Cork home.

She added that while there is no cure for PWS, Oisin was an active little boy who loved sports. Oisin is now on growth hormones which has helped with his strength, posture and height.

"He is starting to see he is different," added Ann.

"Last Christmas all the kids got bikes. The other boys got up and cycled off, Oisin just couldn't understand why he couldn't cycle. I had to tell him it was the PWS and his muscles were not as strong."

Birthday parties also prove difficult.

"He's the only child who goes to a party with a party bag. I have to tell the parents that Oisin is only allowed to eat what is in the bag."

Oisin's story can be heard on the RTE Radio One documentary series on Saturday at 6pm.

For more information about PWS, email: