LIFESTYLE
23/06/2015 13:02 BST | Updated 23/06/2015 13:59 BST

Teen With Premature Ageing Condition Progeria, Ana Rochelle Pondare, Celebrates 18th Birthday

Ana Rochelle Pondare may have just celebrated her 18th birthday, but the teenager has been dubbed "the oldest woman in Asia".

Pondare, from the Philippines, suffers from an extremely rare condition called progeria, which affects just one in every four million people.

The condition causes the body to age prematurely and the current average life expectancy for someone with progeria is 13 years old.

So needless to say, Pondare's birthday was certainly worth celebrating. The young woman had a princess-themed party complete with was ball gown and thrown to mark the momentous occasion.

ana rochelle pondare

"Progeria is a condition diagnosed in children whose bodies are not able to produce a properly functioning version of a protein called “lamin A”, which is involved in important functions such as DNA repair," the NHS explains.

"Instead, their bodies make a defective version of the protein, known as progerin, which triggers a range of adverse effects at the cellular level. This causes major damage to multiple parts of the body, mimicking advanced ageing."

ana rochelle pondare

Surgeon Dr Pierre R. Clero has provided Pondare with a special diet plan and creams for her ageing skin in a bid to prolong her life.

At 18 years old, she is now the oldest living progeria case in the Philippines.

"I'm not a complete girl," Pondare previously said, according to the MailOnline.

"The doctors said that I'm ageing too fast and my life here on earth is quick, after 15 years, I'll be gone."

In the run-up to her birthday, Pondare said one of her wishes was to meet her idol, Filipino singer, actress and television personality, Sarah Geronimo.

According to CBN News, the star thanked Pondare for providing "joy and hope" to the nation with her positive attitude.

A photo posted by ABS-CBN (@shinepilipinas) on

Here in the UK, progerin sufferer Hayley Okines captured the nation's hearts as she campaigned to raise awareness about the condition.

Before she died at the age of 17 in April of this year, she featured in a number of documentaries about the disorder, including The Girl who is Older than Her Mother and World's Oldest Teenager: Extraordinary People.

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