An inspirational young boy with an ultra-rare genetic condition that makes him look like an old man refuses to let it hold him back – and even drives a CAR.
Shreyash Barmate, 11, who lives in Madhya Pradesh, India, has progeria – a condition which ages his body around eight times faster than normal.
The condition leaves Shreyash suffering from baldness, heavy wrinkles and weakened limbs.
The Progeria Research Foundation believe the syndrome is so rare it affects around 1 in 20 million people.
The average life expectancy for children with progeria is 14, with many dying from a heart condition called arteriosclerosis, which usually affects adults over the age of 60.
But despite the challenges posed by the syndrome, Shreyash remains incredibly positive about his daily life and his future.
He said: “I play instruments, I sing and I ride a bicycle and drive a car. I go swimming as well.”
“I know I have a condition called progeria but I am okay with it. It’s not coming in my way at all. This condition is not affecting my dream of becoming a singer.”
Shreyash has an older brother and a twin brother, neither of whom have the condition. While progeria is caused by a genetic mutation, experts do not believe it is hereditary.
Shreyash’s dad Arvind Barmate, a government employee in Madhya Pradesh, says his son started developing marks all over his body when he was two.
Arvind said: “He has progeria but he never lets us feel that he has some disease. He always spends his time playing and singing.
“He wants to become a singer and he is actively taking part in singing. His condition is not stopping him at all.”
Doctor Girish Budhrani, the family’s paediatrician says that despite the rare medical condition, Shreyash is an energetic and positive boy.
He said: “This is the first time I’m seeing progeria as a patient. In total there are around 140 progeria patients and around 60 of them are in India.
“I see him as one of the most positive children in our society. If you go to normal children you will see they wouldn’t be as jovial as Shreyash.”
Shreyash spends his days playing cricket, painting, swimming and playing musical instruments.
He said: I go out with my brother and play cricket with him and other friends. We all play together. I have a lot of friends.
Shreyash is also proud that, despite his condition he has not fallen prey to bullying.