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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Brave little "crystal girl"

A 5-year-old English girl is battling a very rare illness that threatens to turn her body into a rock.
Lillie Sutcliffe was just 23 months old when she was diagnosed with cystinosis, the Daily Mail said. The genetic condition causes the amino acid cystine to accumulate in cells, forming crystals that build up and damage cells. The crystals damage many systems in the body, particularly the kidneys and eyes.

To combat the condition, Lillie must take a cocktail of drugs every day.
"I had never heard of the condition so [I] was a bit shocked to hear what it did," her mother, Laura Milner, told the paper.
"It means Lillie's body essentially turns to crystal. They just load up inside her. If she wasn't treated she would turn to stone eventually because it attacks all the cells."
The condition also stunts growth. Her mom says Lillie is the size of a 2-year-old. She goes to school, where she has has no problems keeping up with the other kids academically. But she cannot walk far or play sports.
The Daily Mail said there are only 2,000 known sufferers of cystinosis in the world.
"I am so proud of how she is fighting it," Milner said. "Lillie is a real star and she just gets on with it -- she is very brave." 

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