New hair and hope for metro Detroit girl fighting progeria - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

New hair and hope for metro Detroit girl fighting progeria

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Nine-year-old Lindsay Ratcliffe in her new wig. Nine-year-old Lindsay Ratcliffe in her new wig.
SOUTH ROCKWOOD, Mich. (WJBK) -

She is the Flat Rock girl that has gained national attention for her battle with a rare, fatal disease.  Now little Lindsay Ratcliffe has been given new hair and new hope.

It was a day the nine-year-old will never forget.  She saw herself with a beautiful head of hair made just for her, which actually she hopes people won't notice.

"I think [my new wig is] going to help make them not notice me," she said.

Blending in is tough for Lindsay because she is extraordinary, a tiny warrior fiercely fighting progeria, a disease without a cure.  But she seems to be winning the battle.

Lindsay was diagnosed with progeria at five months old.  The genetic disease robs children of their childhood.  Progeria causes premature, accelerated aging, including heart disease.  Life expectancy is only about 13 years, but now the Ratcliffes have been given new hope.

For the past several years, Lindsay has been part of a study researching an experimental drug, and after a recent round of testing, doctors say it's working.

"It's actually reducing the stiffening in the veins and arteries, which is make it easier to pump the blood throughout the body," said mother Kristy Ratcliffe.

"Her heart and everything is at a typical eight, nine-year-old at this point," said father Kristy Ratcliffe.

Hair loss comes with having progeria, but now in third grade, Lindsay has decided she might like to have hair like all of her friends.  So Children with Hair Loss in South Rockwood stepped in to help.

The custom hairpiece would have cost as much as $8,000, but providing free hair replacements to children in need is founder Regina Villemure's passion.

"You put the hair on them.  You turn them to the mirror.  They feel like themselves again, and they just come alive," she said.

"Mom can braid her hair, and that's something that I know even Kristy misses out on," Joey said.

The Ratcliffes are smiling even more these days.  They know there are no guarantees in Lindsay's life, but for the first time, they feel like time is on their side.  And Joey was able to tell his little girl something he has always wanted to say.

"You're going to live a lot longer than we expected," he said.

If you would like to help raise money for progeria research, join the Ratcliffes at the Eighth Annual Miles for Miracles.  The walk is happening on Saturday, May 11 at Fountain Park in Flat Rock from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  For more information, visit www.littlelindsay.com/events/miles-for-miracles.

For more information on Children with Hair Loss and their upcoming golf outing fundraiser, also on May 11, at Sandy Creek in Monroe, visit www.childrenwithhairloss.us.

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