Derby twins beat odds to reach 18th birthday

Derby twins who were told they wouldn’t live past the age of seven are celebrating their 18th birthday on Sunday (28).

Sam and Alex Bolton were born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a genetic condition that makes muscles weaker and causes problems with movement.

They were just 18 months old when mum, Sarah Wilson, was given the devastating news. Although she suspected that they had some kind of developmental delay, nothing had prepared her for what she was going to be told.

But as they embark on this special birthday, the brothers have an incredible “can do” attitude and they tackle life and the challenges they face with enormous positivity. They are currently finishing a two-year course at Derby College and they plan to study media at the University of Derby from September. Their dream is to be TV presenters.

Sam said that turning 18 was a huge milestone for them both. “When we were first diagnosed we were told we wouldn’t make it past seven and that was quite scary for our mum,” he said.

Alex added: “This is a real milestone for us and it was always going to be a big birthday. It marks the next chapter of our lives and we are very excited.”

The family have been supported by our hospice since the brothers were three-years-old. Our charity has been a huge part of their lives and Sam and Alex have had many adventures and met many celebrities at our hospice. They have featured on TV and they have created a catalogue of memories.

In support of us, and to mark this special occasion, Sarah is taking on our Loughborough Firewalk on Friday 23 June at Emmanuel Church, Forest Road.

She will bravely walk 15 feet barefoot over coals which are 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

“It is like she is walking 15 feet over hot coals for our 15 years at Rainbows,” said Sam. “We have been at Rainbows most of our lives and it is so nice that we are able to give something back. We have so many fond memories of Rainbows and it has been so helpful for mum that we can go to Rainbows and have fun while she knows we are going to be safe.”

As an enormously proud mum, Sarah supports Sam and Alex in everything they do. She said: “Obviously turning 18 is a huge milestone for any young person but given the prognosis at the point of diagnosis, I would say that Sam and Alex have surpassed anything I had imagined at that time and always with a smile and a laugh and they very rarely complain about their disability. We have always tried to focus on what they can do and not waste time moping about what they can’t do.”