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'Real-Life Benjamin Button' Has Looked Old Since He Was A Child

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'Real-Life Benjamin Button' Has Looked Old Since He Was A Child

A 'real-life Benjamin Button' has looked like an old man since he was a child due to an extremely rare condition. Watch him demonstrate that he's not letting the condition hold him back here:

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Sammy Basso from Vicenza, Italy, was born with progeria, whereby a mutation in the Lamin A gene - which is responsible for providing strength and stability to the cell nucleus - causes a wide range of health issues in children which are usually only found in the very elderly.

Babies with the condition, sometimes referred to as 'Benjamin Button Disease', do not normally manifest symptoms at birth, but as they become a toddler, signs such as hair loss and slow growth appear.

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Sammy was not diagnosed until he was two, at which point his parents were told he would be unlikely to live beyond the age of 13.

Sammy has lived almost twice as long as expected. Credit: Media Drum World
Sammy has lived almost twice as long as expected. Credit: Media Drum World

Progeria causes problems with the heart, such as calcification of the aorta and preclusion of the veins. Those with the condition also suffer from the bone condition osteoporosis - causing their bones to become brittle and at risk of breakage. The only parts of the body progeria does not affect is the brain and the nervous system.

But 25-year-old Sammy has defied the odds, and while his condition has deteriorated over the years, he has been able to enjoy life with the help of his family and friends.

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"When doctors diagnosed me aged two, they just said to my parents that it is premature ageing, the lifespan is thirteen years old and enjoy the time you have with your son," Sammy said.

"Growing up, I lived both a very normal and unusual life at the same time.

"I went to day care and elementary school just like everyone else, but I knew I was different as my parents told me about my condition as far back as I can remember."

His parents were told he wouldn't live beyond 13. Credit: Media Drum World
His parents were told he wouldn't live beyond 13. Credit: Media Drum World
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His life has changed rapidly though - due to his accelerated aging - and he has also had to deal with the ignorance of others.

He said: "When I was young, I could run and jump and do sports but as I got older, I could no longer do these things.

"I can't walk for a long time, so I must have someone who can push me along in my wheelchair. I also have to be careful not to fall because the impact could damage my bones because of my condition.

"Sometimes I see people staring at me and it is difficult because I know that my condition is not going to suddenly go away.

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"It hurts but I know it is out of ignorance as opposed to it being malicious."

Sammy is used to being stared at. Credit: Media Drum World
Sammy is used to being stared at. Credit: Media Drum World

For Sammy, the objective is to squeeze as much life as possible into each and every day.

He said: "I don't want to waste the present, but at the same time I don't want to live just for today. I want to look to the future and be involved in projects like the scientific research I am involved in and the charity.

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"I want to do my bit to make the world just a little bit better.

"I know that my life expectancy is different for me, but I don't care really. I am more worried about wasting my time than the length of my life. It is better to add life to our days than add days to our life.

"I am preparing to die just as every other person is. We're not immortal."

Featured Image Credit: Media Drum World

Topics: Interesting, Community, Health

Jake Massey
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