Sunday, August 17, 2008

Aging Disease Doesn't Slow Toddler

This article is in today's Lexington (KY) Leader-Herald. It is one in an occasional series of articles about 19-month-old Zach Pickard, a toddler diagnosed with the rapid-aging disease progeria, and his family...

Zach Pickard dances to the front door like a tiny dervish.

"Mr. Sun," a song beloved by generations of toddlers and stuck in the minds of parents for decades afterwards, plays on the stereo.

For Zach, it is a bounceable tune, and bounceable tunes are something that toddlers love to a fault:

Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun

Won't you please shine down on meeeee ...

Zach has progeria, one of the rarest diseases on earth. There are only 13 cases of the disease in the United States, 46 worldwide. Progeria causes children's bodies to age far more rapidly than they should.

Here's how progeria is cruel: Babies with the disease come out looking like any other newborn, fluffy-headed and wrinkled. During the first year of a progeria baby's life, however, parents usually notice a failure to thrive. By the time the children hit 18 to 24 months old, the accelerated aging is unmistakable.


No comments: