British Boy Suffers from Rare Aging Condition, Atypical Progeria Syndrome
Harry Crowther, an 11 year old from England, is aging at a rate that is five times faster than others his age. He is the only known person in the world with Atypical Progeria Syndrome, also called Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome or HGPS.
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome develops during childhood, but babies appear normal at birth. In the first year of life, however, profound failure to thrive occurs, resulting in short stature and stunted growth, along with facies (distinctive facial expressions associated with certain medical conditions), alopecia (hair loss), stiffness of joints, and abnormal tightness of the skin. Motor and mental development remains normal.
Harry Crowther’s parents noticed something was wrong when he was a year old. He skin began to tighten, altering his face. Today, his skin is thinning and the bones in his fingers and collarbone have begun to erode. He suffers from arthritis, but still manages to skateboard and ride his bike with the help of painkillers that he takes four times a day.
Because the genetics of Harry’s condition are so unique, doctors are not exactly sure what will happen, except for certain that his life will be cut short. Individuals with HGPS develop severe atherosclerosis and death usually results as a complication of the cardiac disease between six and 20 years of age, with an average life span of about 13 years.
Mom Sharron says “We have had our tears and the ‘why us’ moments like every family would have. But we have to remember he is walking, talking and in mainstream school. It is just that his body is different.”