“My Extreme Affliction,” a special “20/20″ series, covers a range of rare and devastating conditions. Click on the links below to learn what you can do to help people suffering from the ailments and challenges profiled on the show.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: OCD is a devastating illness that affects about 5 million Americans, and about 1 million are children, according to the OC Foundation. People living with OCD are not only tortured by obsessions and repetitive rituals but by recurrent and persistent unwanted thoughts and images.
Williams Syndrome: Williams Syndrome is a rare genetic condition that causes a combination of ebullience, empathy, fearlessness, linguistic and musical talent, elfin features, heart conditions and bad teeth.
Progeria: Progeria is a fatal disease characterized by rapid aging in children. It is rare; of every 4-to-8 million births worldwide, only one baby will have progeria, according to the Progeria Research Foundation. On average, children with the disease die at age 13.
Hoarding: A psychological disorder, hoarding is characterized by the excessive collection of items paired with the inability to throw things out as well as problems with organization. It is considered both prevalent and difficult to treat.
Deadly Albinism in Tanzania: In Tanzania, life with albinism is a near death sentence. 64 people have been murdered since 2007 — their limbs hacked off and sold on the black market. Many locals believe there are magical properties in the blood, bones and skin of people with albinism. Aside from gruesome attacks, Tanzanian albinos — unprotected for a lifetime under the scorching African sun — often die of painful skin cancer in their thirties.
Trimethylaminuria: A rare disorder causes its sufferers to smell like dead fish.