While road safety, abduction and sporting injuries probably top the list of things mums worry about most, one Canberra mum faces an horrific and exhausting daily concern: whether or not her son will eat himself to death.
Vanessa Crowe's son Angus, 19, has Prader-Willi syndrome - a rare genetic disorder that affects, among other things, the hypothalamus, or almond-sized portion of the brain that helps your stomach understand when it's full.
In short, Angus never feels full. He's hungry every second of the day. And for the Crowes, that spells immense danger.
If left alone with enough food, there is a high chance, due to his condition, that Angus would eat until his stomach burst or until he choked.
Many of the doors in the Crowe household are code-locked. Angus is never allowed to have money and his parents need to know where he is every second of the day.
"It's hard for the people outside of our little unit to understand unless they live with a person with Prader-Willi syndrome," Vanessa said.
"It's very hard restricting food, and we get scolded a lot by family, but it's what we have to do to keep Angus alive."
According to Vanessa, it became clear something was not quite right with Angus while he was in utero.
At eight weeks old, a visiting geneticist saw Angus was "weak and floppy" and failing to thrive and correctly predicted Prader-Willi syndrome.
The syndrome is estimated to affect one in every 15,000 births and there are believed to be at least 10 people in Canberra region living with Prader-Willi, including Angus.
Vanessa and Richard Crowe signed up for a life of ongoing therapy and strict supervision of their son from the second their tiny baby was diagnosed.
"With Angus, we just had this really amazing connection - it was like through his little eyes he was saying 'yeah mum, I might have a little problem but I'm going to be okay'," Vanessa recalled.
"For me, to get a diagnosis was great because we could move forward then.
"It's been years of speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, right from 10 weeks of age.
"He has low muscle tone, a slow metabolism, and it affects his IQ."
Almost two decades of intense therapy and excellent schooling at Turner Primary, the Woden School and Marist College have made Angus the man he is today.
He's a member of the Special Olympics ACT basketball team, is learning to drive and can often be found at the family business, Monaro Workwear in Fyshwick, giving cheek to the Raiders players who occasionally come in.
Angus picks the vinyl and runs hat embroidery full-time at the family business, but also helps out at GG's Flowers, a socially sustainable Canberra florist that employs people with special needs.
He helps out with flower deliveries on the biggest days of the year, including Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.
"I like doing the delivering," Angus said. "I like putting a smile on people's faces."
GG's Flowers will be one of three beneficiaries at Canberra's second live crowd-funding evening this Thursday, September 21, at Vibe Hotel. Described as "TED talks meets Kickstarter", the event will also raise money for the Women's Centre for Health Matters and Mental Illness Education ACT. Tickets and further information at www.thefundingnetwork.com.au
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