A Hungarian toddler will be able to get the medicine he so desperately needs after more than 700 million Hungarian Forint ($2.3 million) was raised in less than a week from generous donations from people around the globe who were touched by the child’s story.
Zente suffers from SMA, or spinal muscular atrophy, a disorder that requires prohibitively expensive treatment and medication. His family was struggling to pay for the medicine to treat him, so his parents relied on the kindness of strangers in Hungary and abroad to help Zente out. It worked, and the money was raised within days of their initial plea.
Time was of the essence for Zente, as treatment for his rare form of the illness, SMA-1, can only begin before the child is two years old. The medicine known as Zolgensma is not only one of the most expensive in the world, it’s also one of the most controversial. In the United States, ethical questions have been raised around the use of Zolgensma given its high cost as well as the lack of studies done on its long-term effects.
Zente seemed to have no problems at birth, though after his parents began to notice symptoms, he was sent for extensive tests which eventually discovered that he had the most severe form of muscular atrophy. The single-dose gene therapy drug is thought to be his one hope for extending his life and his health.
The little boy’s parents have been posting updates to his official Facebook page, where they thanked donors his week for giving their son the opportunity to be treated for his condition. They also asked for people not to send further money, as they had the funds they needed to cover the Zolgensma and would only use the money for that purpose.
Here’s hoping this treatment helps Zente and gives him the opportunity to grow into a happier, healthier little boy.