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Life Before Your Time

October 2, 2012

Life Before Your Time
Alexis Lee

When someone catches wind of an elderly person developing health issues, it is always a somber time. Heart disease, stroke, arthritis are common health problems that senior citizens develop, but what happens when toddlers and young children develop these issues? This is a fatal disease that is called Progeria. There is still no cure for this horrific disease, but raising awareness on Progeria to fund testing could not only save young children’s lives that will be taken too soon, but also could possibly save millions of lives of the elderly.
Progeria or formally called Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (also called HGPS) is a rare, fatal genetic disease. It causes toddler and children to develop health issues that normally elderly people would have. Usually around eighteen to twenty-four months a child with Progeria will have growth failure, loss of body fat and hair, aged looking sign, stiffness of joints, hip dislocation, generalized atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and can possibly have a stroke. Children with progeria also have narrow faces, macrocephaly (large head for body size), micrographic or small jaw, and a limited range of motion. Children that have unfortunately developed Progeria die at an average age of thirteen years old from atherosclerosis or cardiovascular disease. Basically a child with progeria is an elderly person trapped in a child’s body.
More often times than not when I ask a person about progeria they give me a puzzled look. Many people are left in the dark about what this disease actually is. It could be that there are not that many children that are affected by this diease, but with no rhythm or reason behind who is infected with this disease it should add more fuel to the fire to spread awareness on it. Progeria is not passed through families, so any child can develop it. As of right now the Progeria Research Foundation is launching the first ever clinical drug trail for progeria. Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome was discovered in 1897, we are just now doing drug test for it.
Children with progeria die for natural causes that the elderly would die from. Not only could testing and finding a cure help Progeria patients, but could also help the elderly that are experiencing the same conditions that children with HGPS are too. Funding and testing for progeria could help find a cure for atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, help prevent stroke, and all things that could help save so many lives. Raising awareness on progeria and help getting people active on the war against progeria could help save so many lives. Not only funding for testing, but simply things like starting support groups for families that have a child with progeria could help these and families and kids beyond anyone’s measure.
Simply raising awareness and telling people about progeria could possibly help save lives. Donating a few dollars here and there, looking up fundraisers to attend that benefit children with progeria could help so much. With so much that is still unknown about this mysterious disease, any little thing could help these children, families, and the elderly so much. With an average lifespan of thirteen years, it is crucial that we must create funding for testing now because the time that a progeria patient has is dwindling away at the speed of light.

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