WHILE her partying and rollercoaster love life have been played out in the public eye for more than 20 years, Katie Price’s dedication to her disabled son is a side of her that we rarely get to see.
It is her love for Harvey that keeps the star going — and she admits there were dark times when she would have ended her life if it were not for him.
This week, Katie was terrified when the partially sighted 18-year-old complained of chest pains and was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
Autistic Harvey, who weighs more than 27st due to an excessive appetite caused by the genetic condition Prader-Willi Syndrome, is now home again after being diagnosed with a chest infection.
But speaking to The Sun, Katie has revealed doctors have told her Harvey is at serious risk of dying from a heart attack if he does not lose weight.
And, in a brutally stark statement, the fearful mum says she hopes Harvey will die before she does, because he simply will not be able to cope without her.
Katie, 42, says: “When Harvey went into hospital, I feared the worst. I always do.
“The doctors have told me he’s at high risk of having a heart attack.
“He’s 27½st, wears 5XL clothes and he gets out of breath walking up the stairs. So of course I panicked.
“I can’t see him living past 50 unless we sort his weight and his breathing out.
‘We try everything but cutting down food is hard’
“I know it’s horrible to say, but I wish he’d go before me because he wouldn’t cope without me.
“He’d be so heartbroken and wouldn’t understand where I’d gone.”
The mum-of-five went into rehab clinic The Priory in January after admitting “self-medicating” with alcohol and cocaine.
In her darkest days, it was only the thought of Harvey that kept her going.
Katie — also mum to daughters Princess Tiaamii, 13, and Bunny, five, and sons Junior, 15, and six-year-old Jett — says: “I could have gone off and hanged myself, which I wanted to do, but I didn’t because I have kids.
“I know it’s a harsh comment but it’s the truth.
“If I ever died, my other kids, obviously, would be heartbroken but Harvey would not understand where I’d gone.
“And I just think no one would look after him the way I do, and he wouldn’t understand why I’m not there.
“The thought kills me. I hate it. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”
Speaking about her eldest son’s hospital dash last week, Katie says she had known something was wrong as Harvey was not himself but it wasn’t until he complained about “needles” in his chest that she called an ambulance.
She says: “I know he’s getting bigger and I’d noticed in the past month his breathing had changed.
“It was at Princess’s birthday party, just after she’d done her cake and Harvey wasn’t feeling himself and had a lie down. And then he was getting worse and worse and I thought, ‘Oh s**t’.
“Sometimes he’ll fake things, like if he doesn’t want to go to school, he’ll say ‘Harvey feels wobbly’, or he’s got a sore throat.
“But I know him well enough to know if he’s trying to pull a fast one or not.
“He said he was getting pains, and he can deteriorate quickly, so I just used my common sense, stayed calm and called the ambulance.”
Harvey was diagnosed with fluid on his lungs and a chest infection, and discharged that night.
But Katie says that dealing with her eldest child’s complex medical needs is getting harder and harder.
As well as being on the autistic spectrum and having a severe genetic condition, he was born with the brain disorder septo-optic dysplasia, which has left him partially sighted.
His father, former footballer Dwight Yorke, has always refused to help and has been absent from Harvey’s life — but Katie says she is happy to be “both Harvey’s mum and his dad”.
She adds: “I love him, and I would never change him, but it’s constant. It’s exhausting.
“He knows he’s got to lose weight but it’s the Prader-Willi — he just wants to eat.
“He’ll steal food, and he’s on steroids that make him big.
“We try everything, but cutting down food is hard.
“I’m not trying to give him a lot of food — look at my other kids, they’re not big and fat like Harvey.
“I don’t want him to be in 5XL clothes, or to not be able to go on proper walks without being out of breath.
“I don’t want that, I come from a fit, healthy family.
“People don’t appreciate how big he is until they see him.
“He can’t fit in some cars, and on an aeroplane the seatbelts don’t fit him.
‘Life with him is bundle of love and banter’
“He loves rollercoasters but he can’t go on them because the seats don’t fit down on him.”
Katie is now filming a BBC documentary about living with her son in lockdown called Harvey And Me.
It will follow their everyday life and the struggles she encounters as a single mum to her disabled son.
“It is bloody difficult,” she says.
“It’s a constant worry, and I worry about the other kids too.
“I think people will be shocked when they see what living with Harvey is really like.
“I’m both his mum and his carer and I don’t even ask for sympathy, but it is hard work.
“Little things p**s him off. If you have to skip the ads on YouTube when he’s trying to watch Peppa Pig, or a door bangs in the house, or the wind bangs the window, he’ll start headbutting the walls.
“I’ll have to get a plasterer in after lockdown as he’s been punching the walls in my new house and it’s covered in holes.
“He can switch just like that.”
Normally, Harvey lives in a residential school during the week, but during lockdown it has just been him and Katie together at home.
Her two youngest children Bunny and Jett have been living with Katie’s ex-husband Kieran Hayler during the week, while Princess and Junior live with their father, pop singer Peter Andre, down the road from Katie in Sussex.
Katie has loved spending one-to-one time with Harvey but has been struggling with the home schooling.
She admits she is “no teacher” and jokes: “I’m about Harvey’s level.”
Katie adds: “Obviously his education is different to other children’s, but I don’t care because doctors said he wouldn’t walk, talk or see and he does it all.
“He’s cleverer than people think. He’s amazing at drawing and knows his times tables.
“Living with Harvey is a bundle of massive love and banter — and he makes me laugh.”
And while she is abused every day by online trolls who brand her a “sl*g” for her string of divorces, her former husbands have been very supportive since she left The Priory.
Katie says: “They’ve been good, actually. There’s no drama with Kieran and Pete now. It’s so nice and refreshing.
“The new house is between their houses, and it’s so nice.”
This week, Katie gave evidence by video link to a Commons committee looking into online abuse, and said the “disgusting, despicable” taunts directed at Harvey was part of the reason she sought treatment at The Priory.
Under her Harvey’s Law campaign, Katie wants to make online abuse a criminal offence, with the names of trolls placed on a register that employers can check.
Talking about the “daily” online abuse about her son, she says: “Harvey’s not aware of it, but I am and I won’t stand for it.
“It’s disgusting what he gets called.
“I get trolled daily too, but he doesn’t deserve the abuse he gets.
“I’m excited to get this law going because everyone agrees it should be a law.”
‘GETTING RIGHT HELP FOR OUR KIDS IS HUGE BATTLE’
By Sam Carlisle
MY daughter, Elvi, is in the same class as Harvey Price at school.
He is a friendly giant, incredibly loving and has a real passion for art and frogs. Harvey’s fantastic piano-playing is the highlight of the Christmas concerts.
Whatever Katie does in her private life, her love for her son is palpable.
The fact she has raised him for 18 years without any financial or emotional support from his errant father, Dwight Yorke, shows great strength.
Every parent of a complex-needs child worries about who will look after them if anything happens to us.
So while it is shocking to hear Katie say she wants Harvey to die before her, I can understand what she means.
Like Elvi, who also has a rare genetic disorder, Harvey has challenging behaviour and there has to be someone with him all the time.
Before lockdown, both of them attended the residential unit at the school.
For me, allowing Elvi, 18, to stay overnight was an incredibly tough decision. I felt I had failed her at home.
But the reality was that she only slept three hours a night at home, never making up that sleep in the daytime.
That was night after night when I had to be up with her.
It was relentless and exhausting.
We realised residential care was the right decision.
The staff at the school are incredibly caring and great at coming up with a programme of events for the kids that would be beyond shattered parents.
Elvi loved her nights there.
So, with lockdown, Harvey and Elvi not only lost their lessons and the routine that is so important to them, they also lost their fun nights at school.
I don’t think either of them understand why they can’t see their friends.
As parents, we lost the respite that enables us to work, spend time with our other children and be the best we can be when our gorgeous kids come home.
Harvey and Elvi’s wonderful teacher has provided daily online activities for her class – much easier than Elvi’s younger brother’s maths.
But we are on our own when it comes to challenging behaviour.
I’m lucky that Elvi is small.
Katie is expected to manage someone twice her size throwing punches in frustration.
Before the pandemic, families of disabled children had to fight for services such as respite, the right school, the right provision within that school and help at home.
The Sun’s Give It Back campaign, run in conjunction with the Disabled Children’s Partnership, is acknowledging the battle, demanding increased funding and helping parents.
Since the pandemic, the Government has rarely mentioned disabled children.
The biggest announcement was that our children’s legal rights were being put on hold, which is terrifying.
So we are left at home with medically and emotionally vulnerable kids, who were legally entitled to extra support to stop families collapsing, and having to manage on our own.
It has been incredibly hard.
Families feel abandoned.
I can only imagine how much harder it must have been for Katie.
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