The Express reports, THE SINGER'S mum Anne Twist tells our writer about the impact her father’s Parkinson’s disease has had on their family.
HER son was headed in only One Direction but as the road to rehab is paved with the names of so many stars who achieved fame before being old enough to vote, Harry Styles could easily have taken a wrong turn.
He was only 16 when X Factor judges teamed him up with Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson to create the boyband which went on to produce fi ve hit albums, clock up four world tours and collect a clutch of awards. He became known as “the charming one” and after seven years in the spotlight that image has stuck.
Launching a solo career and landing a role in the epic film Dunkirk have taken Harry, now 23, in new directions, but he is avoiding the pitfalls of Hollywood as surefootedly as he side-stepped the perils of pop. He remains grounded and in large part this is down to the other X factor in his life – his family.
His mother Anne Twist says: “As a family I think we are very supportive of each other. Each of the children is making their own way and we can, as adults, simply give an occasional steer in the right direction if needed.” With characteristic modesty Anne says:
“For me as a mum, as we all do, it was very much a case of making it up as I went along. The thing I would say you should always remember is first and foremost you are mum – protector, teacher, role model. Having a friendship as your children grow into adults is the prize.
I’ll always be mum but I now also have amazing friends in my children.” “I feel very lucky. I have a great family and have always felt loved.” He adds: “My mum is very strong.
He has the greatest heart.” Anne has needed that strength to cope with the loss of Harry’s stepfather Robin, who died earlier this year after a four-year battle with lung cancer.
She says: “Losing Robin has been one of the hardest times for me. Each day is different, some good, some not so good. I get through each day with the help of my family and friends. “Robin fought valiantly with the help of oncologist Professor Justin Stebbing, who gave us more years than we expected.
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I’ll always be grateful to him and his team.” The family has another challenge and, as ever, they are facing it together. In 2009 Anne’s father Brian Selley was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a condition characterised by steady loss of cells which produce the brain messaging chemical dopamine.
Symptoms vary from patient to patient but can include tremors, slowed movement, stiffness, cramps, tiredness, dizziness, slurred speech and diffi culty swallowing. People with Parkinson’s can also experience depression, delusions, hallucinations and anxiety.
Anne, 47, says: “With dad, it started with a slight tremor in one hand which was never much of an issue. But then other mobility problems began to manifest themselves and sometimes he would freeze or it would seem as if his feet were sticking to the floor.
“At first the impact on the family was very limited and dad was able to live independently but about three years ago he began having regular falls. It got to a point where we were constantly worried when the phone rang, especially if we knew he was going out.” The pressure on family and carers can be diffi cult to bear but Anne says Harry and his sister Gemma have been “absolutely brilliant”.
She adds: “They love him to death and he is so proud of them.” Brian, who is now 82, moved into an assisted-living fl at and Anne acknowledges: “We’re very lucky because dad is in a position to afford full-time care and he retains his amazing sense of humour.”
Increasingly, Brian has “peaks and troughs” of good weeks followed by periods where his symptoms are more severe and he now experiences hallucinations and involuntary movements. “Both are relatively harmless,” says Anne, “but they can be distressing for other people.”