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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 July, 2005, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Aging girl given soothing present
Hayley Okines
Hayley's condition means her body ages eight times faster than normal
A seven-year-old girl from Sussex who suffers from a rare and fatal condition which mimics premature aging, has been given a hot tub to ease her pain.

Hayley Okines, from Bexhill, has severe arthritis, and by the time she is 10 she will have the body of an 80-year-old.

Hydrotherapy offers her some relief but she can only receive it occasionally as the centre is a long way from home.

But after hearing about her plight, a company has donated a 9,000 hot tub.

'Floods of tears'

Hayley has Progeria, a condition which makes her body age eight times faster than normal.

Her father, Mark, said hydrotherapy was one of the best therapies for her because it soothes her muscles and joints.

The owner of the hot tub company first heard Hayley's story when a documentary was made about her life.

Sally Koob Von Lewentein said: "About two months ago we saw a documentary in which Hayley was excitedly telling her grandma she had tried a 'caduzzi'.

"I sat in bed in floods of tears and said to my husband that we'll get that little girl a hot tub."

Hayley was delighted with her gift: "I like it because it's hot and I like the bubbles, she said.

Her bravery was recognised in 2002 when she received a Child of Courage Award.




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