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
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."
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.