Monday, March 17, 2008
FRANKFORT, Ky. — If he’s lucky, Zach Pickard will live past the age of 13.
Zach, now 13 months old, suffers from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a disease that accelerates the aging process when the child is 18 to 24 months old. Children with this syndrome die of heart disease at an average age of 13 after aging at a rate six to eight times faster than an average person.
About 100 cases have been formally identified in medical history, and the odds of being diagnosed with it are roughly one in 8 million. For now, Zach is like any other baby, learning to walk, say words like mama and papa and making his family laugh with funny faces.
With his messy blond hair, big blue eyes and infectious smile, Zach attracts attention wherever he goes. Zach was 2 months old when his parents realized something wasn’t right.
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