Support Pours In For 'Granny-Looking' Girl

(26 September) Neighbours and school staff are gathering support for a 4 year old girl who is suffering from a rare disease which has made her face resemble that of an old woman.

Chanagaln ‘Jenny’ Lung-Or, a resident of Fang district, Chiang Mai province, was born with Progeria Syndrome, a genetic disease which causes premature ageing to her skin and her body .

Chanagaln’s mother, On Lung-Lhoo, 28, a Burmese worker who migrated to Thailand in 2007 said she was very shocked to see that her daughter was born different from other infants.

Chanagaln then had undergone several medical treatments at the hospital, but the family eventually failed to afford the process.

Her parents then decided to put Chanagaln in school, while they have been trying to increase their income. When she attended Wat Pah Sak School, Ms. On said, the teachers actually asked for Chanagaln’s Birth Certificate, because they could not believe her age at first.

Chanagalnwas initially faced with constant teasing by her schoolmates but a week later she got along well.

Mr. Somsak Lohle-kha, M.D., President of the Royal College of Pediatricians of Thailand, explained that Progeria is incurable, and the girl will soon suffer other diseases like old people do.

A medical team from Lamphoon Hospital visited the school yesterday. After spending 30 minutes checking up on the girl’s health, the medics found that she was normal.

Nevertheless, Chanagaln was recently admitted to the hospital for 7 days for Pneumonia, and three days recuperating at home, before returning to school on 23 September.

In order to help her family with financial issues, the school has opened a bank account for Chanagaln. Ms. On believes that if her family had sufficient funds for the treatment, her daughter would be cured and able to live like other kids.

According to our correspondent, many neighbours and visitors have been at Chanagaln′s school to cheer her up. At the school, Chanagaln behaves naturally like other kids, playing cheerfully with her friends and looking excited when she was visited by many people.

Her friends also teased her that she had become a star now, to which Chanagaln smiled happily back in reply.

Those who suffer with Progeria, or Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, usually live until their post-teenage, or mid twenties. The disease incident rate is estimated to be 1 per 8 million live births.