Hayley Okines – The Progeria ‘Wonder Child’

June 4, 2014 | 0

Hayley Okines was diagnosed in 1999 with an extremely rare condition known as progeria. She was only 2 years when she was diagnosed with the disease. Progeria is a rare genetic condition which affects only a handful in the entire world. The genetic condition causes a person age faster than normal. On average a child with the condition ages eight times faster than other normal people. The projected lifespan for the children with progeria is 13 years but Hayley Okines has already hit that projection.

Hayley is known for spreading and creating awareness of progeria. Hayley is undergoing clinical drug trial, which may have seen her beat the average life expectancy, as she is still alive and well. When you look at Hayley, you cannot believe she is just over 14 years because she looks like a 96 year old senior. This condition is not passed from one generation to another because many of the children with the disease never live to reproduce. They die at an early age because of the rapid biological age.

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Born on 3rd December 1997, by the time she was 21 months, doctors had already diagnosed her with the weird disease. When Hayley’s mother received the news that her daughter had been diagnosed with progeria, she was in disbelief. Kerry Okines, the mother was filled with emotional challenges but luckily, the family did not lose faith.

Instead, they embarked on a journey to try and get help from experts. They took their child to many experts who identified that mutated gene and then included Hayley in a trial drug clinic which proves to reverse an abnormality in progeria cells. Although the clinical drug trial is still going on, it seems to offer some light as already Hayley has lived passed the life expectancy.

Hayley is already suffering from other conditions like arthritis and similar old age diseases. However, she acts normal and hangs out with friends doing all sorts of day-to-day activities. She has even written a book featuring her life titled “Old Before My Time”. The little girl speaks candidly about her struggles with rapid aging, and the effects the disease has on patients’ lives.

Progeria, also known as Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome is caused by mutant protein in cells called the progerin. It is the alteration of this protein which leads to a speedy aging at about 8 to 10 times the normal aging pace. The book “Old Before my Time” details things about the life of Hayley, and it has been a moving insight as to how a child copes with a disease that causes accelerated aging. The book has been written with help of the mother Kerry, who has contributed some chapters as a co-writer.

When her baby was young and Kerry realized that she was not growing or putting on weight as other infants would do at that age. Kelly sensed that something was wrong. Hayley’s story became catapulted into the limelight when she starred into various documentaries such as the World’s Oldest Teenager: Extraordinary People and The Girl who is Older than Her Mother. As the trial drug tests continue, her mom hopes that a breakthrough in science will help her live better than previous suffers of the disease.

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Hayley Okines – Pictures

hayley okines progeria pictures

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