'It's challenging': Denise Richards talks about daughter's rare condition

'It's challenging' Denise Richards talks about daughter's rare condition
'It's challenging' Denise Richards talks about daughter's rare condition Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

When her daughter, Eloise, was a baby, actress Denise Richards realised her little one wasn't meeting typical milestones.

"She wasn't able to sit up on her own for a very long time, and she didn't start walking until she was 2, and that was with physical therapy," Richards shared in an interview with PEOPLE.

It would be several years before Eloise, now seven, whom Richards adopted in 2011 as a single mum, would received a diagnosis: a deletion in chromosome 8. 

"She can only say a handful of words," says The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, who married Aaron Phypers in September.

"And there are times when she feels like her age in understanding, and then other times where it feels she's emotionally three years old. It's been challenging. I'm learning every day because they don't really have a road map for her particular case."

Noting that every child is different, Richards continues, "You take care of your children no matter what is going on with them. I don't know if [Eloise] is ever going to talk like a typical child. But as a parent you want what's best for your children, and you just do it."


My baby's first day of kindergarten!!! #eloise

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In 2011 when Richards adopted Eloise, the actress, who has two children with former husband Charlie Sheen, Sam 14 and Lola, 13, told US Weekly that the process was far from easy.


"Some people think if a celebrity wants a baby, they get one the next day. The adoption took two years, and there were times I felt discouraged, times when I got close to adopting a baby and it fell through. But I knew the right baby would find us."


My baby graduated preschool 🌸 #misseloise so proud of her💕

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According to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Centre,(GARD) Chromosome 8p deletion is a chromosome abnormality that affects many different parts of the body.

"People with this condition are missing genetic material located on the short arm (p) of chromosome 8 in each cell," GARD says, noting that the severity of the condition and the associated signs and symptoms vary based on the size and location of the deletion, and which genes are involved.

Nonprofit organisation Project 8p, outlines a little more about the rare condition, and what life is like for the 350 people worldwide with a chromosome 8 diagnosis. These can include partial deletions and duplications to name just two.

"When a doctor asks us, "what is your diagnosis?", they should be asking "how many diagnoses do you have?" because we have too many to keep track of," the site advises of their "8p Heros". 

"The majority of us have moderate to severe developmental delays among other health complications including disordered acquisition of cognitive and social competence, apraxia (speech), motor planning, low growth, feeding and digestion challenges, epilepsy (seizures), autism, congenital heart defects, hypermobility (loose joints), hypotonia, muscle spasticity, and more.

"We understand far more than we can say.  We are smart and we are aware of our differences from most of the world ... We are living with a label that is a mouthful with no recognisable name which falls under the broader category of a rare genetic disorder or orphan disease.  However, with your help, we heroes will never feel alone and labelled – we will learn from each other and teach the world."