WHITEHOUSE, Ohio -- Two little girls who live on the west side of Toledo share something with only 78 other people. A condition that causes them to age faster than the rest of us.
There are a few similarities between the Halko and Kudzia families. Tim and Ryan share the same birthday. Both families have older sons and their daughters share an incredibly rare condition that causes them to age prematurely.
It's called Progeria and it affects one in eight million children. There are only 80 known cases worldwide and 18 of those are in the United States.
The population of Lucas County, Ohio is 440,000, so imagine the odds of two families living 15 minutes apart sharing the same diagnosis.
These families don't worry about odds, they're concerned with time. Carly Kudzia is 14 months and was just diagnosed this past April.
Kaylee Halko is 8. But for every year they're alive, they age seven to ten years faster.
Progerin is a protein that we all have, but Carly and Kaylee's bodies make too much too fast. Progeria inhibits their growth and biologically makes them old before their time.
"The average age is ten to thirteen years that they die of heart attack stroke heart disease stuff that older people pass away," says Carly's dad, Ryan.
But Kaylee is a medical pioneer and Carly's about to becmoe one.
"Over the past seven years, it's gone from nothing can be done to they found the gene that causes progeria and now we're starting our third drug trial," says Kaylee's dad, Tim.
Next year they'll start a new drug combination trial that will include a form of Rapamycin.
Rapamycin is a drug commonly used to prevent rejection in organ transplantation. It may also help fight certain cancer. But recently scientists discovered that it also decreases the disease and aging protein progerin in cells by fifty percent.
"All of us are aging so I feel like these eighteen kids in the U.S. are helping to essentially add years on all of our lives," says Carly's mom, Heather.
Progeria kids are normal in every way except they age faster. Carly loves playing basketball with her brothers. Kaylee loves Justin Bieber, softball and the color pink.
They may not understand what they're contributing to science, but their parents do.
"She's changing the world, she's changing lives, she changed my life but she could change everybody's life," Heather says.
Ryan adds, "It could mean another ten years on her life and could see her into her twenties, possibly, instead of her teens, so it's pretty important."
The trial is party funded by the Progeria Research Foundation and donations are needed to cover the $3 million cost that will enable 65 Progeria kids from all over the world to participate.
To learn more about Progeria Research Foundation click HERE
If you'd like to donate to help the project click HERE
To learn more about Carly click HERE and HERE
To learn more about Kaylee click HERE and HERE