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Richard Engel and son Henry send love to kids and adults with special needs during pandemic

The NBC News chief foreign correspondent shared a photo of his 4-year-old son, who has a rare neurological disorder, with an uplifting message during the coronavirus pandemic.
/ Source: TODAY

Richard Engel and his 4-year-old son are sending out a heartfelt message to people with special needs and their caregivers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBC News chief foreign correspondent tweeted a sweet photo on Monday of his son Henry, who has a variation of the rare genetic neurological disorder Rett syndrome.

"Sending out special love from Henry (feeling great) to everyone, especially all the special needs kids and adults who are more vulnerable, and their wonderful caregivers, giving so much more with help, therapy and medical care now all under strain,'' Engel wrote.

Engel and his wife, Mary Forrest, have been open in sharing Henry's journey. Children with Rett syndrome appear to develop normally at first but show symptoms during their first year of losing their motor and cognitive skills. It currently does not have a treatment or a cure.

“It’s not just delay. It means life long, permanent, untreatable physical and intellectual impairment,” Engel said on TODAY in 2018. “Unfortunately, the more we learned about it the worse the news got.”

Coronavirus particularly affects not only people over 60 but also those with compromised immune systems, which includes part of the special needs community.

Seeing the sweet photo of Henry was a welcome sight for many people during a difficult time, as more than 3,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus.

"Seeing Henry's sweet face always make me smile,'' one person tweeted. "Much needed these days. I'm glad he's feeling great. I hope everyone in the Engel family stays healthy and safe."

"Thinking about all the special needs young children who aren’t getting their therapy, training, developmental education at such a critical time in their development,'' another wrote. "Praying for a cure for this horrible virus."

Henry became a big brother last year to Theo, the couple's 7-month-old son. Engel and Forrest continue to share his journey to let other families of children with special needs know that others are going through similar challenges.

"It’s not a story that anybody wants to tell,'' Engel said on TODAY in 2018. "It is very difficult for us, but we wanted to raise awareness, to make other families with special needs children, children who are challenging, know that they're not alone."