Obit of the Day: The 17-Year-Old Senior Citizen
Progeria is the rarest of rare diseases. Affecting only children, an estimated 250 kids across the globe suffer from the genetic condition which causes premature aging including loss of hair, tightening of joints, loss of body fat, and even hardening of the arteries. The anticipated life-span for a child with progeria is 13 years.
Sam Berns was diagnosed at 22 months and began to age before people’s eyes. But he wasn’t hindered by his diagnosis. A self-proclaimed “band geek,” Sam played snare drum in the high school marching band. ("I don’t have to worry about [progeria] when I’m feeling so good about making music.") He made numerous television appearances increasing awareness of the disease and the Progeria Research Foundation. He gave a TED Talk in 2013 titled, “My philosophy for a happy life." And he was a huge fan of Boston sports, attending a New England Patriots practice a few weeks before his death. Patriots owner Robert Kraft donated $500,000 to the foundation and the team had a moment of silence for Sam before the January 11 playoff game.
The gregarious teen was also the subject of the HBO documentary, Life According to Sam, which is short-listed for an Academy Award nomination.
Sam Berns, whose physician mother discovered the gene that causes progeria, died on January 10, 2014 at the age of 17.
(Image of Sam Berns is courtesy of sciencenews.org)
Also of interest is Obit of the Day’s post on Brooke Greenberg, a twenty-year-old who stopped aging at 15 months old.