Donna Svennevik/ABC
  • Barbara Walters Progeria

    Lindsay Ratcliffe of Flat Rock, Mich., lives inside a body that is biologically older than that of her grandmother. The 7-year-old is one of 80 known children who suffer from progeria, an extremely rare and fatal disease characterized by rapid aging in children. It occurs in 1 of every 4 to 8 million births around the world, according to the Progeria Research Foundation. <P>
    Donna Svennevik/ABC
  • Barbara Walters Progeria

    At birth, Lindsay showed no signs of progeria. Four months later, when she had gained little weight, her parents Kristy and Joe Ratcliffe said they knew something was seriously wrong. It took doctors six weeks to diagnose Lindsay with progeria -- a fatal disease where children on average die at 13. <P> "In the beginning it was a lot harder because she couldn't talk and she couldn't walk and she couldn't do everything for herself. Now, it's so easy because you see her and you smile. You can't help it," Kristy Ratcliffe said about her vibrant daughter.
    Donna Svennevik/ABC
  • Barbara Walters Progeria

    Barbara Walters met Lindsay Ratcliffe and her family in May 2010. At times, Lindsay is another first grader, who loves playing with ponies, Legos and running. But her physical limitations make it hard for her to keep up with her classmates. <P> "Whether it's T-ball or basketball, she will sit there and will give it 110 percent no matter what. She knows that she's not the fastest out there in T-ball, but it doesn't stop her," Joe Ratcliffe said. "She might not come in first place, but she is there. It's all heart."
    Donna Svennevik/ABC
  • Barbara Walters Progeria

    Lindsay is one of 9 girls in the U.S. who has progeria. Amazingly, Kaylee Halko, 8, who has the same rare condition, lives an hour away in Monclova, Ohio. The two girls are close friends and because of progeria look strikingly similar. They both get upset when they're mistaken for babies.
    Donna Svennevik/ABC
  • Barbara Walters Progeria

    Barbara Walters, Lindsay Ratcliffe and Kaylee Halko enjoy an afternoon tea party.
    Donna Svennevik/ABC
  • Barbara Walters Progeria

    Even though she's only three feet tall and 24 pounds, Kaylee's three older brothers -- TJ, 12; Brendan, 10, and Jacob, 8 -- describe her as fearless with a larger-than-life personality. <P> "She's very outgoing. She can talk to just about anybody," T.J. told Walters. "We really don't think about her having a disease. We just think of her as a normal person."
    Donna Svennevik/ABC
  • Barbara Walters Progeria

    For parents Marla and Tim Halko, it's important for Kaylee to live a full and happy life like normal kids. The pint-sized girl attends cheer dance school to feed her love of dance, and rides the school bus with her peers. Kaylee is pictured with her parents and Barbara Walters.
    Donna Svennevik/ABC
  • Barbara Walters Progeria

    Kaylee presents Barbara Walters with one of her drawings.
    Donna Svennevik/ABC
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
See It, Share It
PHOTO: A home damaged by a landslide Friday, April 18, 2014 in Jackson, Wyo. is shown in this aerial image provided by Tributary Environmental.
Tributary Environmental/AP Photo
null
Danny Martindale/Getty Images
PHOTO: Woman who received lab-grown vagina says she now has normal life.
Metropolitan Autonomous University and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine