Tributes for 'inspirational' Lucy Parke (8) who dies from Progeria
A Co Down girl with an extremely rare genetic condition that meant she aged quickly has died at only eight-years-old.
Inspirational Lucy Parke from Ballyward had Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome, which meant the little girl aged much more quickly than her friends.
Lucy's mum Stephanie revealed the devastating news on Facebook yesterday.
Known as Progeria, the condition affects just one in 4 million people, and with no known cure, those it affects rarely reach their teens.
In a statement, the family said: "We have lost our precious Lucy. Her body was weak but her heart was strong.
"Her love for life and wonderful smile made us proud to be her parents."
Author Catherine Campbell, who interviewed Stephanie for her book When We Can't, God Can, said many people had been encouraged and blessed by Lucy's story and her life.
"She was beautiful in every way, but had the premature aging condition Progeria, and fought bravely against the effects it had on her tiny body these past eight years," she wrote on Facebook.
"Lucy is now free from pain and limitation, but please pray for her wonderful family who are devastated by her passing.
"I am so blessed to have met this amazing little girl, and feel Stephanie and David's pain very keenly today."