Anna Sakidon, an eight-year-old girl suffering from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, died of 'old age' in Ukraine. Anna celebrated her eighth birthday last month, even though doctors estimated her biological age to be close to 80 years. Weighing a mere 17 lbs, Anna died of multiple organ failure.
What is Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome?
She became the world's youngest person ever to die of the syndrome, which has affected only 160 people the world over. Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome is a genetic condition characterized by the dramatic, rapid appearance of aging at the beginning of childhood. The average life expectancy of a person suffering from the rare genetic condition is around 13 years, even though some may die younger or grow up to live up to 20 years.
Anna wished her diagnosis of progeria to be wrong
According to doctors, people suffering from the rare genetic disorder usually die of stroke. However, in the case of Anna, even though she suffered several cardiovascular strokes and a paralytic stroke affecting the movement of her arms and legs, she died of multiple organ failure after her organs aged rapidly because of the incurable disease.
The Foundation of Ukrainian Volunteers supported Anna's treatment ever since she was diagnosed with the syndrome. The foundation's head, Timofey Nagorny, said: "Her only dream was to discover one day that the diagnosis of the doctors was wrong."
Dr Nadezhda Kataman, one of Anna's doctors at the Volyn Regional Children Medical Complex where she was undergoing treatment since birth, confirmed Anna's death. "In January, Anna turned eight. For children with progeria diagnosis one year is equal to eight-to-ten years, so her real age was between 70 and 80. The child suffered from early ageing of her inner organs and body system. Her bones grew slowly while her organs aged rapidly. Such patients usually die from strokes. Anna suffered several strokes, and paralysis of her limbs," she said.
Anna started walking at the age of 10 months
Anna was three years old when she was first introduced to the world in a video. Her mother, Ivanna, had revealed that Anna had started walking properly at the age of 10 months.
Ivanna said she was "ready to sacrifice everything in order to make her daughter healthy". The mother added that Anna started following her mother everywhere since the age of 11 months. Scared of light, Anna ventured outdoors only during the evenings. A happy-go-lucky child, Anna, who did not like kissing anyone, hugged and kissed her favourite teddy bear when she got happy.