Thursday, September 8, 2011

Little Girl is First Black Child on Earth to Have Aging Disease

first black child in the world has an aging disease

Ontlametse Phalatse is a 12-year old girl who calls herself "first lady" and dreams about her future.  But doctors say that she is only expected to live another two years.

"I call myself a first lady because I'm the first black child with this disease ... Which other black child do you know with this disease?" she said.

Ontlametse has been diagnosed with progeria, a genetic condition that causes children to age very quickly.  No one knows how prevalent the disease is around the world, but the Progeria Research Foundation says that the number of children diagnosed has risen from 48 to 80 around the world.

According to the foundation's director, only two African children have been diagnosed with the disease and they both live in South Africa.  The other girl that has been diagnosed is white.

Ontlametse's mother, Bellon Phalatse, says that her child looked normal when she was born, but it didn't take her long to realize that something was wrong.  The child had an extraordinary number of rashes, and a skin disease by the time she was three months old.  By her first birthday, her hair was falling out.  To make matters worse, the child's father left the family when the little girl was only three.

"It was horrible, I don't know how to explain" what we went through, Phalatse said.

But the hardships she has has endured have not stopped the first lady from making big plans for the future.

"I would like to be a psychologist," she says, "so that I can work on the problems of other people and so that they can accept the way that they are because they can see that I accept the way I am."


satsang said...

She's not the first Black child with progeria. There was a Black boy named Peedie Snipes who was featured on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show and Maury Povich's show about 15 years ago that had the same exact conditon. Sadly, Peedie has passed away, but this young lady is not the first. Not by a long shot.

Doll Harris-Hargrove said...

I agree with you. When I was a child I use to visit my aunt who had a large collection of photographs from Tuskegee, AL. There was one photo that stuck with me of a very small person who looked different than a normal child. My aunt told me she was "old before her time". After my aunt passed away, I inherited her many photo albums. The child's name was Jessie Mae Turner. The photo was taken in the 1930's or 1940's. You can view the photo at this link:

Anonymous said...

DHH, thank you for sharing that link. That child certainly is black and definately looks like she has progeria. Beautiful collection of photos.

Doll Harris-Hargrove said...

Thank u for taking the time to view the pics!