Published On: Thu, Jul 28th, 2016

Twin boys suffer from rare condition that makes them feel hungry all the time




‘They’ll EAT out of the GARBAGE': Connecticut mother forced to lock up fridge, cupboards, pet food and cleaning products to stop thirteen-stone twin sons with extremely rare condition that makes them HUNGRY all the time

  • Stevie and Eddie Ahern, both 12, were born with Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • The extremely rare condition makes the boys feel hungry all the time
  • They also suffer autism and can be prone to violent outbursts
  • Their single mother Dianna Schatzlein-Ahern, may involve authorities

A Connecticut mother has been forced to lock her fridge, pet food storage and evening cleaning products to stop her twin boys who suffer from a rare condition that makes them eternally hungry.

Stevie and Eddie Ahern, both 12 and weighing thirteen-stone, were born with Prader-Willi Syndrome and autism, a devastating combination that leaves them prone to extreme anger and violent outbursts.

‘They’ll eat out of the garbage, we always have to take the garbage and put it outside,’ their mother mother Dianna Schatzlein-Ahern, 55, said.

‘I don’t think they’re aware of it, they’re just so hungry that they’ll just eat whatever they see, they’ll eat it off the floor and they’ll eat out of anybody’s garbage.

‘Things are at the worst every day. There’s not a day that goes by when something major doesn’t happen in our lives.

‘I really don’t know how I cope, it’s taxing but I can’t have a nervous breakdown because I’m all they have.’

In order to stop them eating she has to lock up her refrigerator, cupboards, cat food and even cleaning products – which they have been known to try and drink.

Dianna, from New Haven, Connecticut, said: ‘I have to keep everything locked away so they don’t get up in the middle of the night and have a feast.

‘They can never feel full so could potentially eat themselves to death.

‘I even have to lock up all of the medications in my room, then lock the bedroom door once I’m going to sleep.

‘But that’s their disease.’

But the boys are becoming increasingly stronger and more stubborn meaning their mother is considering involving the authorities.

Prader Willi affects one in every 25,000 children and leaves them with an insatiable appetite, low muscle tone and speech delay.

Looking after the boys is a 24-hour-a-day job and the constant nature of it eventually took a toll on Dianna’s marriage with their father.

‘I’ve been living just me and the boys for two years now,’ added Dianna.

‘I still see my other two children but it’s hard being away from them.

‘It’s difficult for the boys because I’m very strict with their food intake and I only allow them 1200 calories a day.

‘That can lead to aggression because they don’t understand why I have to do it.

‘Stevie can be very violent, he will just pop and start knocking things over.

‘He goes after Eddie all the time. I just say Eddie go in mommy’s room and wait but it can take hours for him to come out of it.’

Things came to a head recently when Stevie became aggressive in a supermarket while shopping.

Dianna said: ‘They didn’t have a little carriage for him to push so he became very agitated.

‘Out of nowhere he started to smash the displays and when a stranger approached to ask if he was ok he pushed him as hard as he could and the man ended up on his back.

‘Everyone was staring at me and eventually a woman who was a counselor at a school came to calm him down.

‘She knew not to approach him but it took her 45 minutes to get Stevie into the right mindset.’

As the boys become stronger Dianna has started to realize that she may need outside help to control them – she has yet to call the police but knows it is only a matter of time.

‘I try to explain to them that they will be taken away from me, that they’ll have to go to a hospital but they’re not able to understand,’ added Dianna.

Because of the severity of their condition Dianna is unable to have the twins looked after by anyone who does not have a deep understanding of Prader-Willi – leading her to get very little respite.

While Dianna does have the boys she plans on enjoying as much time with them as she can and taking a break whenever an opportunity presents itself.

She added: ‘They’re such good kids, they’re very loving to me and I love them so much.

‘They call me the queen – I’m queen mom.

‘I’ll keep fighting for them as long as I can.’


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About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology