Progeria is a rare and fatal genetic condition that causes rapid aging in children. Progeria comes from the Greek and it means “prematurely old.” While there are many different types of this disease the classic type is Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome named for Dr. Jonathan Hutchinson, whofirst described the disease in 1886, and Dr. Hastings Gilford who followed in 1904.
Progeria affects bout 1 in 8 million children. Around the world there are only about 30 to 40 known cases.Although children with the disease are born looking normal they start to show many characteristics at around 18 to 24 months. Some symptoms include dry papery skin, loss of hair and fat, fluid retention, growth failure, stiffness of joints , cardiovascular diseases and strokes. The most common cause of death is heart disease. As any elderly person suffering from heart disease, the children may experience high blood pressure, chest pain due to poor flow of blood to the heart, enlarged heart and heart failure.
Progeria is caused the mutation in the gene called LMNA, which produces the Lamin A protein. Researches believe that the protein makes the nucleus of the cell unstable and this leads to the process of premature aging. In October 2002, the Progeria gene was found at The Pogeria Research Foundation in Florida.
The Sunshine Foundation is a wish granting organization founded in1976 by a former Philadelphia police officer. The Sunshine Foundation has provided children with Progeria with a reunion. The reunions give these children a week to enjoy with other children like themselves. The time they spend together is not only fun, but it is something that gives them strength and a sense of anticipation in looking forward to the next year.

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