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Thursday 23rd November 2017

US dad whose son has similar condition to Charlie Gard speaks on GMB

Art Estopinan claims Donald Trump "saved" Charlie Gard

American dad Art Estopinan's son Arturito, six, was treated by the same doctors who have offered to help terminally ill Charlie Gard.

Art appeared on today's Good Morning Britain to praise Donald Trump for offering to help Charlie, who suffers with mitochondrial depletion syndrome.

President Trump reached out to Charlie's parents, Chris and Connie, to offer his support yesterday saying he would "be delighted" to help the tot.

Art's son suffers from a similar condition to Charlie's (Credit: ITV)

Read more: Donald Trump vows to help terminally ill Charlie Gard

Arturito was diagnosed with a similar condition to Charlie and was the first person in the States to receive the experimental therapy treatment that Charlie's parents want their tot to undergo.

Now six years on the little boy is able to move his hands, feet and arms.

President Trump has saved Charlie.

Speaking to hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, Art said: "Our son was told that he would only have two months to live.

"This is a very rare genetic disorder and with all due respect to all of the great doctors at Great Ormond Street this disease is not well known amongst a lot of those doctors."

He continued: "We were told to go home, he's going to die, there's nothing you can do, don’t even look at the internet.

"I looked the doctor in the eye and said thanks for the diagnosis but we won't go home to take him to die.

The tot underwent the experimental treatment that Charlie's parents want their son to undergo (Credit: ITV)

"That's when I started my search. I called 20-25 doctors and we found Columbia University medical centre. They gave us hope. Charlie Gard has hope with this doctor and the parents have the right to take little Charlie."

He went on to disagree with Dr Hilary Jones' claim that Charlie's type of disease, which only affects 16 people in the entire world, is "far rarer" than his son's.

Art added: "My son has been on a ventilator for 5 years. He’s getting stronger. When he got home four years ago he couldn’t move anything, only his eyes. Now he can move his hands, feet and fingers, he’s a happy boy.

"Sir you are 100 per cent wrong. Charlie Gard is a human being and he deserves the opportunity to live."

Speaking about Trump's offer to help the little tot Art said: "President Trump has saved Charlie. He was set to die yesterday morning."

Art claims Trump "saved" Charlie's life (Credit: ITV)

Connie and Chris were left heartbroken last week after the European Court of Humans Rights ruled that Charlie should have his life support machine switched off.

Now just hours after Trump offered to help the tot it's understood that an American hospital has offered to treat Charlie for free if he is allowed to travel to the States.

The US President took to Twitter yesterday and wrote: "If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so."

A White House spokesperson has said: "Upon learning of baby Charlie Gard’s situation, President Trump has offered to help the family in this heartbreaking situation.

"Although the President himself has not spoken to the family, he does not want to pressure them in any way.

"Members of the administration have spoken to the family in calls facilitated by the British government."

"The President is just trying to be helpful if at all possible.

"Due to legal issues, we cannot confirm the name of doctor or hospital where the baby could be treated in the United States," they added.

Courts have ruled for Charlie's life support to be switched off (Credit: ITV)

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The Pope has also offered his support through a statement released by The Vatican. It said the Pope is following the case with "affection and sadness".

It also added: "For them he prays, hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored."

Chris and Connie have been fighting to save their son's life and managed to raise over £1.3 million to take him to America to undergo the experimental treatment.

Earlier this year they said: "We can’t just let our baby die when there is hope and treatment available that might help him.

"If Charlie receives this treatment and it does work it won’t just be his life that’s saved, it will be many more children in future who are born with this horrible disease.

"Like any loving parents, we will do whatever it takes to save our baby’s life."

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