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First black child diagnosed with "ageing disease"

FIRST: Ontlametse Phalatse has progeria disease

A 12-YEAR-OLD girl has become the first black child to be diagnosed with rare "ageing disease" progeria.

South African, Ontlametse Phalatse, has been given just two-years to live by Doctors after been found to have the fatal illness that at accelerates the aging process.

It is common for children with progeria die from heart disease between the ages of 8 and 21, with many of them suffering from high blood pressure, angina, and heart failure.

According to the Progeria Research Foundation only two African children have been diagnosed with the disease and the other paitent is white.


SCHOOLGIRL: 12-year-old Ontlametse in her South African home

The foundation's executive director, Audrey Gordon, said to the Associated Press: "We know that there are children (with progeria) in Africa, in China and Russia, but we just can't seem to get to them."

School-girl Ontlametse said: "I call myself a first lady because I'm the first black child with this disease. Which other black child do you know with this disease?"

Ontlametse's mother, Bellon Phalatse, says that her child looked normal when she was born, but noticed a change as the child developed symptoms such as severe rashes, and hair loss when she was turned one.

Other symptoms of Progeria also include small and bald with oversized heads, eyes that bulge a bit, gnarled hands.

Phalatse, who was told by a doctor friend to get her daughter tested for the disease two years sgo said: "I'm very happy now that I understand what causes progeria."

Despite only expecting to live for a couple of years, Ontlametse, still has a bright outlook for the future.

She said: "I would like to be a psychologist, so that I can work on the problems of other people so that they can accept the way that they are because they can see that I accept the way I am."

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