A teenager with an extremely rare genetic disease that causes him to age ten times faster than other children is hoping for a miracle cure, despite seeing five of his siblings die from the same affliction.
Ali Hussain Khan from Bihar, India, is only 14 years old, but the condition, called progeria, has given him the body of a 110-year-old, according to the Daily Mail.
"I very much want to live and I hope there is medicine for my condition out there. I’m not scared of death but my parents have suffered a lot," Khan told the website. "I’d love to live much longer for them. I don’t want to burden them with any more pain."
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His parents, who are first cousins, have eight children. Four born with progeria died between ages 12 and 24. Another child, who died shortly after birth, is also thought to have had the disease. Two of their daughters do not have progeria.
There are only about 80 cases of progeria known in the world. According to the Progeria Research Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to cure the condition and its aging-related disorders, the children with progeria "are born looking healthy... [but] begin to display many characteristics of accelerated aging at around 18-24 months of age."
Interestingly, children with progeria exhibit a remarkably similar appearances, despite differing ethnic backgrounds, according to the foundation. Progeria signs include growth failure, loss of body fat and hair, aged-looking skin, stiffness of joints, hip dislocation, generalized atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke.
The disease is fatal. The oldest person living with progeria, South African Leon Botha, died at age 26 in 2011.