Ontlametse Phalatse, South Africa
The elfin child with the big personality and bright smile calls herself ‘the first lady’ and dreams of the future. But doctors say 12-year-old Ontlametse Phalatse has only another couple of years to say her goodbyes. But Ontlametse broke the set record, making it all the way to 17.
Ontlametse is the first black child has been diagnosed with progeria disease, a rare and fatal genetic condition that accelerates the aging process, the Progeria Research Foundation said.
Ontlametse goes to school along with all the other kids her age. She’s a bright pupil, but has been scorned by classmates, teachers and others who think her small, skinny figure means she has AIDS.
“Baby girl was born looking normal but her mother realized early on that something was wrong. The baby suffered constant rashes and by the time she was 3 months old Phalatse thought she had a skin disease.” Said Bellon Phalatse, Ontlametse’s mother.