Sebastian was only eight weeks old when doctors told his parents not to expect him to live beyond two or three years (Image: Yvette Pitts/MEN Media)
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A boy who was given no more than three years of life expectancy after being diagnosed with a genetic disease has defied all odds to celebrate his sixth birthday in June.
Sebastian Pitts, from Flixton, Greater Manchester, was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, the same life-limiting and incurable illness as three-year-old Oliver Battersby in Coronation Street.
His parents "never thought he would be with us now" after he was given two to three years of life when he was only eight weeks old, Manchester Evening News reports.
But in June he celebrated his sixth birthday and while his parents Yvette, 34, and Steve, 36, weren't able to give him the birthday they had hoped because of lockdown, they were grateful to be able to still celebrate together at home.
Sebastian now enjoys going to school and being a doting big brother to his baby sister Violet, who was born in May.
He is now showing his parents 'how to carry on every day'
(Image: MEN MEDIA)
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The harrowing Corrie storyline has moved viewers to tears as they've watched devastated parents Leanne Battersby and Steve McDonald fight in court to stop their young son's life support from being switched off by the hospital.
The family has found it too painful to watch Oliver's story but they appreciate the hard work the soap has done to raise awareness of mitochondrial disease.
"We've not been watching it ourselves but we are aware of what's happening," said Yvette.
Sebastian is now a doting brother to his sister Violet (pictured) who was born in May
(Image: Yvette Pitts/MEN Media)
"We think it's brilliant that a soap so well watched is raising awareness.
"We didn't know anything about it ourselves until Sebastian was diagnosed."
Sebastian was diagnosed at eight weeks old because he was constantly vomiting. At first doctors thought he had a stomach bug but blood tests showed he had mitochondrial disease.
Years later genetic testing identified a faulty gene as the cause of the disease.
The six-year-old suffers from mitochondrial disease – the incurable illness featured in Coronation Street
(Image: Yvette Pitts/MEN Media)
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At one point Sebastian, who suffers from seizures, spent five weeks in the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital but he's amazed everyone with his strength.
"He's doing amazing," said his proud mum.
"We thought that where the Coronation Street story is was where he was going to be.
"There was a 'do not resuscitate order' and we thought that's where he was heading. But now he's smashing it.
"When he was eight weeks old the outlook was two to three years. We never thought he would still be with us now.
"His doctors are so pleased and have said 'just enjoy him.' Everyone is affected so differently by mitochondrial disease."
She added: "He's such a strong little boy and I'm so proud of him. He inspires me to be better.
"He doesn't know what he's facing and he's always so happy. He shows us how to carry on every day."
The soap has worked with The Lily Foundation, the UK charity dedicated to fighting to find treatment and a cure for the genetic condition, on the storyline and the foundation has been there for the Pitts since Sebastian's diagnosis.
In 2017 the charity arranged for the family to enjoy a Center Parcs holiday.
"They've been there as a source of support since we were first given the diagnosis," said Yvette.
"We reached out and they put us in touch with other people in the same situation."
Mitochondrial disease is the term given to a group of medical disorders caused by mutations in mitochondria – tiny organelles present in nearly every cell in our bodies which generate about 90 per cent of the energy we need to live.
Cells cannot function properly without healthy mitochondria, so when they fail the consequences can be serious and wide-ranging.
Mitochondrial diseases affect people in different ways, depending on which cells are affected.
A person with a mitochondrial disease may suffer from seizures, fatigue, vision and hearing loss, cognitive disabilities, respiratory problems or poor growth. Any of the body's organs and systems can be affected including the brain, heart, lungs, gut, liver and skin.
If you are affected or are living with someone who has a mitochondrial disease, for information about the disease and the support available visit thelilyfoundation.org.uk