Featureworld interviewee Hayley Okines appears in a CHANNEL 5 documentary on Thursday this week.
Hayley Okines, who has a condition known as progeria, which makes her age eight times faster than a normal person, stars in Channel 5’s documentary, Extraordinary People, this week – and it is set to be her most moving documentary ever.
This programme, The World’s Oldest Teenager, follows Hayley to the USA where in the New Year she is to try a new drug. Forever Young could transform all of our lives as it could enable everyone to live 20 to 30 years longer – and Hayley, who will be 14 in December, is to be the guinea-pig to bravely trial it out. It takes nerves of steel for her mum Kerry, because there could be side-effects no-one knows of. At the same time, it could transform Hayley’s life. When doctors diagnosed Hayley as a toddler, it was estimated she might not live until her 13th birthday. Now, although nothing can reverse the rare genetic condition she suffers from – which causes arthritis and hip problems as it prematurely ages her – it could give her the chance of a future.
At the same time this incredible film, which is narrates by Hayley herself, follows her as she meets fellow progeria sufferer Harry Crowther. Since meeting a year ago the pair have struck up a strong friendship and regularly keep in contact on Facebook. They are helping one another through their life-threatening illness.
Hayley is also shown with her brother and sister – who don’t suffer from the condition – and as a normal teenager. And in that way, she is just like any other girl of her age – she adores clothes, make-up, Facebook and Twitter – and is possibly singer Justin Beiber’s greatest fan. Last Christmas Hayley, who now often wears a blonde wig when she goes out, met Justin Beiber and was delighted when she got this photo of him!
And like any other teenager she and mum Kerry fall out sometimes. “Hayley is tiny so I find it hard to let go,” says mum Kerry, “I don’t even like her going on the bus by herself into town – but of course she wants to just like her friends.”
Meanwhile, Hayley, who is recognised wherever she goes and even has her own Wikipedia page, is shortly to have her autobiography published. Old Before my Time, written by Hayley, her mum Kerry and writer Alison Stokes, will be published on 24th November by Accent Press and includes two eight page sections of full glossy colour photos.
Read more about how Featureworld has helped Hayley Okines raise awareness of progeria here: Hayley’s story.
Are you the parent of a child with an unusual condition? If you would like to raise awareness contact me here: Sell My health story.