Lucy Parke, an Irish girl born in 2009, died of a rare progeria syndrome, which affects one in four million people.
She was diagnosed with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, which accelerates the body’s aging by eight times. The majority of sufferers do not reach their 13th birthday, and there are no treatment methods, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
“Her body was weak but her heart was strong,” Stephanie Parke, her mother, said on Facebook earlier this month. “Her love for life and wonderful smile made us proud to be her parents.”
The Daily Mail reported that she was buried in a tiny pink coffin with a rainbow on the front, and during her funeral, it was carried by her father.
Her parents said that people should donate to the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice and other local organizations rather than send them flowers.
Catherine Campbell, who interviewed Lucy’s mother Stephanie for her book, told the Daily Mail: “Many people have been encouraged and blessed by Lucy’s life.”
“She was beautiful in every way, but had the premature aging condition Progeria, and fought bravely against the effects it had on her tiny body these past 8 years,” she said. “Lucy is now free from pain and limitation, but please pray for her wonderful family who are devastated by her passing. I am so blessed to have met this amazing little girl, and feel Stephanie and David’s pain very keenly today.”
When she died, many people paid tribute to the girl.
According to the U.S. National Institute of Health agency, “Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome is a genetic condition characterized by the dramatic, rapid appearance of aging beginning in childhood.” It says that children with the disease “typically look normal at birth and in early infancy, but then grow more slowly than other children and do not gain weight at the expected rate (failure to thrive).”
“They develop a characteristic facial appearance including prominent eyes, a thin nose with a beaked tip, thin lips, a small chin, and protruding ears. Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome also causes hair loss (alopecia), aged-looking skin, joint abnormalities, and a loss of fat under the skin (subcutaneous fat). This condition does not affect intellectual development or the development of motor skills such as sitting, standing, and walking,” the agency adds.