Young at Heart

Hayley Okines & Alison Stokes

The likes and life of a teenager with Progeria

The amazing and awkward life of Britain’s ‘oldest’ teenager

Hayley Okines is just like any other seventeen-year-old: she loves clothes, shopping, TV and boy bands and hates getting up in the morning.

But she has the rare genetic condition progeria, which means she ages eight times faster than normal, giving her the body of a 126-year-old woman. Her positive attitude and infectious smile has charmed millions of people, through a series of ‘Extraordinary People’  TV documentaries.

Now in Young at Heart Hayley continues her unusual life story, which began with Old Before My Time. She reflects on the pains and perks of growing up with progeria; from the heartbreak of being told she will never walk again to the delight of passing her exams and starting college. She reveals the success of pioneering American drug trials, the sadness of losing younger friends to the disease and considers mood swings, marriage, music and what it’s like to be ‘famous’.

As she approaches her seventeenth birthday, four years beyond the average life expectancy, Hayley looks forward to an independent and healthy future and tries hard not to think of what lies ahead.