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Arizona Teen With Rare Disorder Receives Honor

Alex Yiu is a space enthusiast who turned 15-years-old this week. Yiu has a rare disorder known as NEDAMS, which took more than a decade to diagnose.

NEDAMSS is an acronym for neurodevelopmental disorder with regression, abnormal movements, loss of speech and seizures. This has left him bed-bound and non-verbal.

However, this disorder isn’t holding back this valley teen from leaving his mark on the Red Planet of Mars. With help from his teacher, the name of this Arizona teen is headed to Mars.

His name will be etched on a microchip and embedded on the rover.

“She got his name onto the Perseverance Rover and he got a boarding pass,” Alex’s mom, Caroline Cheung-Yiu recently said in an interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM. “So, his name will be going on the rover to Mars.”

But that’s not the only unique thing about the teen.

“It was a long road trying to look for a diagnosis through many institutions and hospitals,” Cheung-Yiu explained. “In the fall of 2018, we got a call from Alex’s neurologist that we finally got a diagnosis that was given through TGEN.”

The Translational Genomics Research Institute is a Phoenix-based, a highly acclaimed non-profit research center helped pinpoint Alex’s diagnosis through their Center for Rare Childhood Disorders. Alex’s family moved to the Valley specifically to help with his diagnosis.

Through his struggles with the disorder, space still puts a twinkle in Alex’s eyes. And he now has the honor of making history in space.