She was known as the 100-year-old teenager and though she looked older, sadly Hayley Okines has died at the young age of 17. Okines’ mother Kerry made the announcement over Facebook, writing: ‘My baby has gone somewhere better. She took her last breath in my arms at 9.39pm.”
The British teenager suffered from progeria — a profoundly debilitating, terminal condition. The condition leads to advanced early aging. Hayley captured the love and respect of millions of people around the world when she started a television program to help raise awareness about the disease.
Though she was not expected to live past the age of 13, Hayley survived and showed the world about loving and respecting life regardless of one’s perceived limits.
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Hayley, who turned 17 on December 3 had been in hospital recently battling pneumonia on both her lungs. She returned home yesterday but died later that night.
The Progeria Research Foundation posted on its Facebook page: ‘The entire Progeria family mourns together with many as we say goodbye to Hayley Okines, our smart, beautiful and spirited English rose, who passed away today at age 17.
‘Gone from our sight, but never our memories, gone from our touch but never our hearts. We will miss you.’
Hayley and her family had fundraised for her medical treatment and to raise public understanding of the condition, and the teenager published her autobiography at the age of 14 called Old Before My Time.
Hundreds of comments have been left on Hayley’s Facebook paying tribute to the teenager.
Ann Morrison wrote: ‘Praying for the family and friends of Hayley. God bless you Hayley. Your positive outlook and willingness to share your life’s journey with us has been very much appreciated.’
Adalia Rose, a vivacious young girl who has progeria, has also raised global awareness about the condition and she displays the same zest for life.