South Africa’s only surviving progeria sufferer Beandri Booysen has no desire to meet President Jacob Zuma or any well-known South African, like her friend Ontlametse Phalatse, who met Zuma and a host of other celebrities while she lived.
Booysen has an entirely different wish – the type that melts the heart and draws empathy as a result of her condition.
While speaking to reporters recently, the ‘little giant’ from Doornpoort, Pretoria, shared what she hopes to accomplish before she dies.
First and foremost, the 11 and a half-year-old said her only wish is to be the oldest person living with progeria. Precisely, Booysen said she wants to live until the age of 29.
At 29, she hopes to get married, give birth to twins, drive her favourite car – Mini Cooper and also have her dream job of being a teacher.
However, for now, Booysen wants to visit the Afrikaans is Groot Show. She also wants to go to New York and Paris to see the classic buildings in the cities.
“I want to finish school, I want to go to the matric farewell with my crush, I want to be a teacher, I want to have lots and lots of money so that I can get new clothes and go out to the movies. I also want to get married and have twins.”
Her mother, who took the time to speak to reporters narrated how life has been with her daughter.
46-year-old Bea admitted that taking care of Booysen is like caring for a four-year-old. Despite her age, she said her daughter doesn’t sleep alone.
Bea also disclosed that her daughter told her to cremate her when she dies and keep her ashes next to those of her grandmother’s.
Booysen has three brothers Jaco (28), Herman (26) and Reuben (18).
Beandri Booysen was diagnosed with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome months after she was born.
At the age of 4, she was enrolled at the Progeria Research Foundation in Boston in the United States of America and has been on the drug trials.
Her mother said she started a new drug phase last December and has been on blood and urine follow-up tests.
In 2012, Beandri suffered a stroke while she was at home, leading her whole right side to fell numb.
Remembering Ontlametse Phalatse
Booysen said she felt so scared of her life and shocked when she learnt of Ontlametse’s death. She confessed that her friend’s death was shocking that she cried endlessly.
She said: “My WhatsApp status says that I miss Ontlametse. We used to talk all the time on WhatsApp, she used to put our pictures on Instagram and she motivated me a lot.”
Though she didn’t attend her friend’s funeral because she was overwhelmed with grief, her cries during her memorial service touched many hearts.