Hayley Okines' Story: The Girl Who's Older Than Her Mother

This is a story about Hayley Okines who has progeria, a very rare disease that causes rapid aging in children. Hayley Okines is an English girl with the rare aging disease progeria who is known for spreading awareness of the condition. Although the average life expectancy for sufferers is 13 years, Hayley is part of a drug trial that has seen her beat the doctors' predictions, and she is still alive and well. Diagnosed in 1999, being 2 years old, Okines was born with progeria, a genetic disease that causes her to age eight times faster than the average person. This puts her projected lifespan to age thirteen. She frequently travels from England to Boston to receive new treatments in the United States. Progeria (Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome) is an extremely rare genetic disease wherein symptoms resembling aspects of aging are manifested at a very early age. The disorder has a very low incident rate, occurring in an estimated 1 per 8 million live births. Those born with progeria typically live to their mid teens and early twenties. It is a genetic condition that occurs as a new mutation, and is rarely inherited. Scientists are particularly interested in progeria because it might reveal clues about the normal process of aging.