Three years ago, Hayley Okines was part of a documentary chronicling her genetic condition that caused her to age prematurely. She suffered from progeria, a rare disease that ages the body eight times its normal rate.
Yesterday, the 17-year-old sadly passed away in the arms of her mother Kerry Okines, who posted on Facebook last night:
“My baby girl has gone somewhere better. She took her last breath in my arms at 9.39pm x.”
Hayley became well known after she starred in World’s Oldest Teenager: Extraordinary People, where at 17 years old, she had the body of a 105-year-old. Kerry spoke about the hell of living with her daughter’s disease in a 2013 interview:
“The most difficult part is Hayley has the mind of a normal 13-year-old girl locked in an old person’s body. Someone else has to get her a drink as she’s too small to reach taps by herself. And buying fashionable clothes is tough because she still wears clothes for a five-year-old.”
Hayley lived four years longer than doctors told the Okines’ she would. Most progeria patients have a life expectancy of 13 years, normally passing from heart attacks or strokes.
Hayley always remained positive about her situation, saying in the documentary:
“In many ways I feel I’ve been lucky. Because of this I’ve met more people and done more than many do in a lifetime.”
Our hearts go out to Okines family, and all the lives touched by this inspirational young lady.
[Image via Progeria Research Foundation.]