Meet Ontlametse Phalatse, a 17-year old South African girl who battles with the progeria disease- a rare and fatal genetic condition that accelerates the aging process.
Progeria is a premature aging disease that affects children of all sexes and all races. The disease makes them look older than they are and stunts their growth.
There are about 80 people in the world with the disease. A Progeria Research Foundation says that Ontlametse is the first black child diagnosed with progeria.
The Research Foundation also says that only two Africans have been diagnosed with the disease -Ontlametse Phalatse and another 5-year-old white girl in South Africa.
Ontlametse was not born looking the way she does now. She was as healthy and normal as every other baby.
At 3 months old, her mother noticed she had recurring rashes and skin issues. Before she turned one, she also started losing her hair and nails.
She was finally diagnosed with the disease in 2009 when a friend and a doctor suspected what the problem could be.
Even with her health condition, her brilliance in academics is exceptional. She educated herself on the disease and totally embraced it, living life as happily as possible.
In an image-obsessed world, when ladies go through a whole lot of pressure and stress to maintain a certain image, it is overly difficult for the likes of Ontlametse who is still in the prime of her age to cope with her look.
Be that as it may, the charming young lady who is about to turn 18, has a confident personality that is best experienced than imagined. Regardless of her condition, she has become an epitome of motivation for a wide range of people who battle with physical and even psychological challenges of all kinds.
Being the first black person diagnosed with Progeria, Ontlametse attached the “first lady” title to her name. How else can one depict the idea of accepting odd situations in good faith?
Abandoned by her father and taunted by her peers in school, Ontlaemetse refused to be cast down.
“I don’t care what people say about me,”
Doctors sad Ontlametse Phalatse may not live up to the age of 13, but this bundle of joy is warming up for her 18th birthday. She just finished high school and says she intends to become a psychologist.