Monday, December 31, 2012

Old Before My Time: Hayley Okines' Life with Progeria

Title: Old Before My Time: Hayley Okines' Life with Progeria
Authors: Hayley and Kerry Okines
I received this book for free from Amazon.com because it was one of their free Kindle books offered at the time that I received it. I am not required to post this review in exchange for this book. I am simply reviewing it for your benefit.
Old Before My Time is a book written by Hayley Okines and her mother, Kerry, about Hayley's life with progeria. Progeria is a rare genetic condition that produces rapid aging in children. Children with progeria age, on average, about 8 times faster than someone without the disease. This results in the the person experiencing many of the same health problems that the elderly have and most of these children die before the age of 13 from heart disease or a stroke.

I learned in dental hygiene school that children with progeria have under-developed mandibles. This results in a bird-like or beak-like appearance. Due to the small size of the mandible they have dental crowding and hypodontia (fewer than normal number of teeth). Children with progeria also experience alopecia (hair loss).
Hayley and her mother wrote this book when she was 13 years old. It is interesting to see the difference in the writing "voice" between the chapters as Kerry writers some and Hayley writes others. In many instances Kerry may have written a chapter talking about her perspective of something, for example, Hayley meeting Steve Erwin, and then in the following chapter Hayley writes it from her perspective.
Hayley's cheerful spirit and positive attitude shine through in every chapter that she wrote. She does not see progeria as something that holds her back, but rather as something that has given her many opportunities that she would have otherwise not had such as meeting Steve Erwin, Kylie Minogue, and Justin Beiber.
Hayley is doing a drug trial to try and slow her aging process. She has seen positive results from this and these are also covered in the book.
This book is not a highly scientific read, but more of an emotionally gripping autobiography written by a girl with a 13 year old mind and a 100 year old body.
I highly recommend it!
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