South African baby girl born with incredibly rare condition
Libode, South Africa - A young mother realized something was wrong immediately after she gave birth last month. Her new baby didn't look anything like other newborns, and the reason why is saddening.
According to the Mirror, doctors determined immediately after birth that the infant suffers from progeria, or Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome.
The condition is an extremely rare and progressive genetic disorder which makes children age 10 times faster than healthy people in the first two years of life. Life expectancy is not particularly high, with those affected usually dying at the young age of 14 or 15.
The 20-year-old mother went into labor at the family's home in Libode in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, but gave birth before an ambulance arrived. The young woman and her own mother noticed that the baby's skin looked unusually wrinkled and her hands were strangely deformed. Once they arrived at the hospital, doctors broke the devastating news.
The little girl's grandmother recalled, "I noticed during her birth that there was something strange with her. She did not cry and she was breathing through her ribs."
Progeria still raises many questions in medical research
Though the family loves their daughter unconditionally, they weren't prepared for how others would react to the baby's unique features and special needs.
Pictures of the child are circulating on the internet, and in some cases, attracting sick insults.
"Now I hear that people are calling her names. That hurts a lot. If I had means, I would put all of them in jail," the grandmother said.
People who suffer from progeria can have other symptoms besides rapid aging, such as a short stature, a very high-pitched voice, and bone loss.
Because the disease is so rare, there is still too little understanding, but researchers suggest that the cause of progeria may be due to damage to the cells.
There is hope, however. Some affected by the disorder have taken to social media to teach the world about their condition and how they try to live the best lives they can despite their struggles.
Adalia Rose is one such influencer and she often coaches others on how to deal with the bullying that comes from looking different.
Cover photo: Screenshot/Facebook/Jovial Yusuf