www.whyville.net Nov 27, 2003 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Older Than They Look

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I'm sure that there is more than one teenager in Whyville who thinks that 25 is old. Try 50, 75, or 90. Think about what life would be like if you were young in your mind and heart, but the face staring back at you looked like you were 80. That is what is like to have progeria.

After watching a television program on the Discovery Channel called "Progeria: Too Young To Be Old," I feel that it is something we should all learn about.

Progeria, according to WebMD, is a rare disorder that causes children to age at a possible rate of seven times the regular rate. When they are first born, they look like normal toddlers, but by the time they are about 6 months old they start to have symptoms such as growth delays. By the time that they are a year or two old, they lose their hair and their facial features become abnormal. They have very low weight and height as well. They rarely ever live past 12 or 13, because they suffer from "old-age problems" such as strokes, heart attacks, and stiff joints. Only about 35 to 40 people have the disorder currently.

I felt somewhat guilty and shallow after watching the program. My life is concerned with clothes, flirting and social activities, and I thought that was a hard thing to go through. Then I imagined life if you knew you wouldn't live to see your freshman year. Imagine looking in the mirror and knowing that you are not as old as you look. I have a lot of respect for children with terminal illnesses such as progeria now. They have a lot harder life than I will ever have.

I think that Whyvillians could benefit from watching the show. Sadly, I feel as if the show may be little graphic for very young Whyvillians. It shows on the Discovery Health Channel at random times.

"I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw someone with no feet."


Work Cited:
1. "Progeria, Hutchinson Gilford" www.webmd.com
2. "A Small Boy, A Brief Life, A Great Loss" www.washingtonpost.com
3. "Progeria: Too Young To Be Old" Discovery Health Channel program.


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