Richard Engel marks son Henry's 5th birthday with touching video

The NBC News chief foreign correspondent also shared a sweet message for other children with Rett syndrome, which Henry was diagnosed with in 2017.
Image: Today - Season 67
Richard Engel and wife Mary Forrest with son Henry on TODAY in 2018.Nathan Congleton / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Richard Engel celebrated his son Henry's fifth birthday with a sweet video on social media.

The short clip shared on Twitter shows Engel, wife Mary Forrest and Henry taking a ride on a carousel, with Engel steadying his son as the little boy smiles.

"Hey, 5 years old and we’re on the carousel, his favorite thing!" said Engel. "Happy birthday, Henry! Happy birthday! We love you, happy birthday! Five years old today!"

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The NBC News chief foreign correspondent also included a kind message in the video's caption.

"Happy Birthday Henry! 5 years old today," he wrote. "And to all Rett and other special kids out there, we love you!"

Around his second birthday in 2017, Henry and his family found out he had a variation of Rett syndrome, which is a genetic brain disorder. The rare medical condition does not have a cure, and doctors have told Engel and Forrest that Henry may never walk or talk. In a 2018 essay for TODAY, Engel wrote: "We’re not giving up by a long shot. We’re determined he will walk one day." The couple have worked with Henry to develop things like fine motor skills.

In August, Engel wrote an essay for TODAY about the effects the pandemic has had on children who have special needs, many of whom have lost access to important therapies and treatments during this time.

"There are amazing therapies out there for kids who need extra help," Engel wrote, detailing the different therapies like hydrotherapy and equine therapy that Henry had enjoyed before the pandemic. "That's all gone," he continued. "He's bored. He's whiny. There is nothing more frustrating than hearing him upset and not being able to figure out what's wrong and how to soothe him."

The couple are also parents to 1-year-old Theo, who marked a major milestone when he took his first steps a few weeks ago.

In his August essay, Engel said that the bond between Theo and Henry has helped Henry during the pandemic. Henry interacts with the world through "sight, sound and touch," according to his father, so hugs and kisses from family members are a great way to reach him.

"We have a new baby, Theo, nearly a year old and healthy, who climbs on Henry and is just now starting to give him little open-mouthed kisses," Engel wrote. "It all helps."