What is Progeria? And Get to Know: Justin Walls!

Progeria, (specifically Hutchinson-Gilford Syndrome) is a rare and progressive disorder that causes children to age rapidly. Signs and symptoms usually appear during the first year, including hair loss and overall slow growth; other signs include:

-High pitched voice

-Small jaw, narrow face

-Below average height

-Delayed tooth formation

-Hip Dislocation

What causes HGPS progeria?

The cause is the mutation of the lamin A gene (LMNA), in charge of making a protein necessary for holding the nucleus of a cell together, but what happens with progeria is that an abnormal form of Lamin A called progerin is produced, making cells unstable. However, unlike many mutations, HGPS is rarely inherited.

What is WRS?

Wiedemann Rautenstrauch Syndrome also known as neonatal progeroid syndrome, is a very rare genetic disorder characterized by an aged appearance at birth, growth delays (prenatal and postnatal growth retardation), and deficiency or absence of the layer of fat under the skin. WRS shares some common clinical characteristics with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.

Life expectancy for a child with Hutchinson-Gilford Syndrome or Wiedemann Rautenstrauch Syndrome has decreased, due to heart problems and strokes, but today, Justin Walls, (diagnosed with WRS Progeria) is 27 years old!

Get to know: Justin Walls!

J: My name is Justin Walls, I’m 27 years old and I’m from Illinois, United States!

M: What is your goal/ one of your goals?

J: My goal is to just live the best life I can.

M: What is your best quality in your own opinion?

J: My best quality is probably my kindness. But I’m not afraid to tell people like it is, I’m also one of the most loyal people you’re ever gonna meet.

M: Who do you look up to the most?

J: The person I look up to the most is probably Robert Downey Jr. after everything he’s been through with the drugs to the man he is today is just inspiring.

M: What is a quote/idea that motivates you and inspires you?

J: My favorite quote and I know I say it a lot but it definitely helps on my bad days.

The quote is “It is what it is. Accept and move on.”

M: Tell me about something you really love (an activity, a book, movie...)

J: I love to play video games. Either by myself or with my step dad.

It helps get my mind off whatever happens to be going on.

Oh, and I also love to listen to music.

M: What are the biggest challenges you face?

J: The biggest challenge honestly is my height. Above all that’s my biggest issue.

But I learned to accept it and move on.

M: Tell me about something you’re proud of!

J: Something I’m proud of. Let’s see. The fact that everything I’ve gone through I’m still as positive as I am. I’m honestly shocked by it. But I’m proud that I am as well.

M: What is your favorite moment of your daily routine?

J: My favorite part of my daily routine is probably playing video games, even before the pandemic that was my favorite part of the day.

Justin’s Advice:

My advice is just live your life. There are people out there who have it so much worse and yet they’re still making it work to the best of their ability.

It is what it is. Accept it and move on.

Never give up.

Works Cited:

“Progeria.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1 Feb. 2018, .

“Wiedemann Rautenstrauch Syndrome.” NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders), 1 June 2016,

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