NBC’s Richard Engel Shares a Touching Tribute to Late Son ‘Binks’: “Henry Would Have Been 7 Today”
Henry, the son of NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, would have turned 7 yesterday. The journalist shared a touching post remembering his late son, along with the adorable photo of him. He tweeted, referring to the boy as “Binks,” the nickname he and his wife, Mary, gave him, “Henry would have been 7 today. Thank you so much to everyone who sent kind and thoughtful messages and donated to support the investigation.” to beat Rett Syndrome. Happy Birthday Binks!”
Henry passed away on August 9, after battling Rett syndrome, a rare neurological condition, for about 4 years, according to TODAY. Richard shared the disturbing news via tweet, describing the boy’s smile as “infectious”. He wrote. “Our beloved son Henry passed away. He had the softest blue eyes, an easy smile and an infectious giggle. We always surrounded him with love and he gave it back, and so much more.”
The Mayo Clinic describes Rett syndrome, which causes loss of motor skills, such as walking and talking. The condition is progressive, meaning it can lead to intellectual difficulties over time. Rett syndrome has no known causes, treatments, or cures. Days after Henry’s death, Richard shared that researchers are making progress using Henry’s cells in research to help cure the syndrome. He called on people to donate to the research.
When Henry missed developmental milestones like walking or talking, the couple thought he was just a “late developer” and requested a genetic scan. However, the doctors warned that Henry would have drastically reduced his physical and mental abilities. Around Henry’s second birthday, Richard discovered that Henry has Rett syndrome, a rare neurological condition. Richard and Mary describe the day of their diagnosis as the worst day of their lives. “I called the doctor and he said, ‘We found something. It’s very, very serious. It’s lifelong, it can’t be treated,'” Engel recalled. “He was in shock.”
But, Richard and his wife were extremely hopeful, showering as much love as possible on his son. “None of this is to say that we don’t enjoy our time with Henry,” Engel wrote in a moving article in TODAY Parents, published in 2018. “I can’t imagine a child who receives more love. We gather in our bed several times a day for the we call ‘cuddle parties,’ where we kiss him, rub him, praise him (he loves hearing his name and being praised), and wind his thick, beautiful hair around our fingers.
In March 2019, Engel shared the news that Henry had said the word “Dada,” a hit for the boy who first said it with clear intent. “He didn’t say it just once, but two or three times. There was an urgency and excitement to it. Having a child with special needs makes you savor the patches of sunshine you cross on the hard, and often lonely, road to a cure: doctor’s visits that don’t go as badly as expected, a good night’s sleep, or a three-and-a-half-year Dada in the making.”