REAL LIFE

Michelle Kish, 20, Looks Like A Child And Requires Round-The-Clock Care, Yet She Is Happy And Loves Her Life

Date May 11, 2018

Michelle Kish is not a typical 20-year-old woman: She is trapped inside of a child's body due to an extremely rare genetic condition called Hallermann-Streiff syndrome. This condition is so rare that there had been not more than 250 cases documented worldwide when she was born. However, Michelle is totally fine with being different.

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Rare genetic condition

It comes as no surprise that a lot of people confuse Michelle with a child because of her stature. This is one of 28 symptoms of Hellermann-Streiff syndrome. Michelle has almost all of them – 26. Some of the other major symptoms of the disease include:

  • lack of hair in many areas;
  • reduced eye size;
  • glaucoma and bilateral cataracts;
  • sleep apnea;
  • dental abnormalities;
  • skull and facial bones abnormalities.

Intellectual abilities typically are normal. It is believed that the disease is caused by a random mutation of GJA1 gene. Today, there is no cure for the condition, so the treatment is basically symptomatic. Michelle has a tracheostomy tube which she attaches periodically to a medical ventilator to assist her breathing. She even gave a name to the machine – Sophia. Isn’t it sweet?

Bork / Shutterstock.com

Michelle's thirst for life

Michelle is very optimistic and doesn’t let her condition bring her down. She is determined to achieve something in life and become a pediatric doctor. And her backup jobs would be a fashion designer or an actress. She also wants to have a boyfriend one day. The one and only thing she looks for in a man is long hair.

BBC Three / YouTube

It can be especially irritating or even depressing to have a sister without such condition, who had multiple boyfriends and overall can experience life in a way Michelle can’t. However, this doesn’t erase a smile from the woman’s face. Michelle certainly loves her family with all her heart.

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Michelle requires round-the-clock medical care, and her family is always there for her. The girl also has to visit the hospital regularly but is not very upset about it.

I do have to go into the hospital a lot. It’s like a second home to me, basically.

BBC Three / YouTube

The family is proud of Michelle

The mother, Mary, says the pregnancy was absolutely normal and nothing indicated the occurrence of this condition. However, the doctors were shocked and didn’t know what was wrong with the girl when she was born. They asked for help from a geneticist at another hospital to consult her because of the rare disease. The mother recalls the horror:

When the doctor gave us the diagnosis of Hallermann-Streiff syndrome, my heart sank. It was unknown what her prognosis was going to be.

BBC Three / YouTube

Against all the odds, Michelle survived and grew into a 20-year-old lady with a cheerful heart and great ambitions in life. Her mom says:

My favorite thing about Michelle is that she has high self-esteem, she loves herself, and she really has a lot of confidence. She moves on every day with a happy heart, and she makes me happy even when I’m down in the dumps.

We wish the girl that all her dreams come true and thank her for the beautiful lesson. Such positivity and love for life are what we all have to strive for!

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