Jo Whiley says sister’s condition is an ‘ongoing situation’ – her symptoms explained

Jo Whiley provides update on her sister’s battle with Covid

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Jo Whiley pulled out of her BBC Radio 2 show after her sister Frances was admitted to hospital. The 55-year-old tweeted at the time: “I can’t do my @BBCRadio2 show this evening. My sister Frances is v poorly in hospital with Covid. I don’t feel shiny or happy tonight, I feel very scared.”

But giving an update on her 53-year-old sister’s health last week she said she’s now “doing OK”.

Frances has cri du chat syndrome, a condition present from birth that affects growth and development.

Infants with the condition often have a high-pitched cat-like cry, small head size, and a characteristic facial appearance.

Frances also has diabetes – a condition that affects a person’s control of their blood sugar levels.

Whiley has been campaigning for people with learning difficulties to be given the coronavirus vaccine as a matter of priority.

She told Radio Times Frances has now received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Although her sister is now well, she admitted caring for loved-ones with a disability is an “ongoing situation”.

“She’s been double-jabbed,” she told the publication.

“I think she’s made of something extraordinary to have survived what she did. But it is an ongoing situation when you’ve got someone with learning disabilities in your family.

“She’s survived Covid, but it [the care] doesn’t end.

“It’s been really hard for people who couldn’t leave their care homes; there are only so many jigsaws you can do.”

“But thank goodness life is starting up again, and there are places she can go,” she added.

Cri du chat syndrome symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms of cri du chat syndrome are listed by National Centre for Advancing Translational Sciences (NIH):

  • Cat-like cry
  • Small head size (microcephaly)
  • Characteristic facial features
  • Hypotonia
  • Intellectual disability
  • Global developmental delay
  • Behavior issues
  • Growth delay

NIH adds: “Babies with cri du chat syndrome often have low birth weight and may have trouble feeding and breathing.

“Some have heart defects that require surgery.

“As children and adults, people with this condition may have significant intellectual, development and speech delay.

“They may have trouble gaining weight and tend to be shorter than average.”

Symptoms of diabetes

Common symptoms of diabetes are listed by Diabetes UK as:

  • Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night.
  • Being really thirsty.
  • Feeling more tired than usual.
  • Losing weight without trying to.
  • Genital itching or thrush.
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal.
  • Blurred eyesight
  • Increased hunger

The diagnosis of cri du chat syndrome is generally made in the hospital at birth.

If you experience any symptoms of diabetes, speak to your GP.

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