American journalist Richard Engel, and his wife, Mary Forrest, lost their young son to a rare disease. Despite the couple losing their child at a relatively young age, they are comforted knowing that his passing would save other people’s lives.

NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel paid tribute to his late beloved son, Henry, on his seventh birthday.

The father of one thanked people on Twitter on September 29, 2022, for their comforting words during his time of grief. He revealed that some also helped by donating for medical research for the syndrome that took his son’s life:

“A big thank you to everyone who sent kind and thoughtful messages. Happy Birthday, Binks (our nickname).”

Despite his son passing away, Engel can be proud of him forever as his “Binks” literally changed the world.

In May 2015, Page Six reported that the doting dad tied the knot with television producer Mary Forrest, who was expecting their first child. The couple wed in New York in an intimate civil ceremony at City Hall.

“So happy. I just got married to @MaryKForrest. My long-time love and girlfriend,” Engel wrote on Twitter at the time. The lovebirds had met five years prior on “The Martha Stewart Show,” where Engel was a guest and Forrest, the TV series producer.

The outlet revealed that they would be hosting a small cocktail party for their family and close friends at the time of the newlyweds’ wedding. The publication also reported the pair were expecting a baby boy. Soon their child was born but under unusual circumstances. Per People, the new parents noticed something wrong with their infant son shortly after birth.

Though Forrest had an uncomplicated pregnancy, her child struggled with breastfeeding, gaining weight, and sucking on a bottle. Within six months, she and her husband observed that their newborn was missing milestones, such as being able to sit unassisted or grasping objects.

Engel said he and his wife believed that their son was merely a “late bloomer” because of the known fact that girls develop faster compared to boys:

“We thought there was still a chance that he was just a late bloomer. That he was going to snap out of it.”

However, by 18 months, Henry was not sitting, standing, or walking. Moreover, he had not developed any language, and as a resort, his parents decided to opt for genetic testing.

It took six months for Engel and Forrest to find out what was wrong with their son. The broadcaster admitted that he was not ready for the news they received. The couple learned their child had Rett Syndrome, which rarely occurs in boys. Per the Texas Children’s website, the disorder is considered deadly when detected in boys.

This rare genetic neurological disorder leads to severe cognitive and physical impairments. Henry had a mutation in his MECP2 gene, which caused the syndrome, a disease typically affecting girls following their first birthday.

It dawned on Engel what his son’s future would look like, and the likely possibilities left him gutted. He said he began to “mourn” what Henry would not be able to accomplish as he grew up:

“My son is probably not going to walk, probably not going to speak, probably not going to have any mental capacity beyond the level of a 2-year-old.”

Four months after receiving the heart-rendering news, Engel and Forest shared that they had made peace with their grief and sought every available form of physical therapy to help their son. The couple made proactive plans for the near future as Henry would need full-time care.

Although there was no cure for Henry’s condition, his parents never lost hope. Engel and Forrest, an Emmy Award winner, engaged their son in several forms of physical therapy weekly to assist him in advancing cognitively and physically.

Fortunately, the youngster made significant progress, and his mother revealed to People in January 2018 that they had “practiced” many times to eventually reach that stage. The mother doting mom also noted that they were not expecting massive changes after that:

“I think we practiced that a thousand times. Anything is good as long as it’s progress.”

Even though Henry could respond to therapy exercises, he sadly passed away. Engel, a New York native, revealed the devastating news on Twitter on August 22, 2022, alongside a photo of his smiling son:

“Our beloved son Henry passed away. We always surround him with love, and he returned it, and so much more.”

Regardless of losing his life, Henry became a hero as, because of him, people now have hope to cure the disorder he had with the use of his cells. The author disclosed on social media, just a few weeks after Henry died that researchers were “making amazing progress to help cure RETT Syndrome” to prevent other people from getting the disease.

According to Texas Children’s website, Engel and Forrest first went to the Texas Children’s Hospital’s Duncan Neurological Research Institute (Duncan NRI) in 2018.

Since the family visited the facility, Henry’s mutation has been studied by Dr. Huda Zoghbi, who discovered that MECP2 mutations cause Rett Syndrome.

To honor the youngster’s memory, Dr. Zoghbi, the founding director of the Duncan NRI, said the institution would continue to do its best to “develop treatments” for Rett Syndrome.

The medical professional described Henry as a “special” kid whose unique eyes “stole” her “heart” from the day she first met him. The Lebanese professor stated that Henry fought a good fight and had significantly impacted the research team to ultimately work harder to find a cure for the condition.