A 15-year-old Mississippi girl, who weighs 380-pound and suffers from a rare genetic disorder that constantly triggers hunger, has been crowned a pageant queen. Anna Hankins was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome, an incurable condition that causes obesity, intellectual disability and shortness in height.
Anna’s parents reportedly said that their daughter was premature and underweight at birth, but at the age of two developed an unquenchable craving for food. The family later found that she was suffering from Prader-Willi Syndrome, a condition that affects one in 15,000 babies born in the United States.
“When she was little, the first words out of her mouth were ‘I’m hungry’ and the last ones were ‘I’m hungry'”, her mother, Jennifer told U.K.’s South West News Service (SWNS), adding that throughout her childhood, Anna’s hunger has been out of control.
“We would get up in the morning, and [found out that] in the middle of the night she had gotten up and made a whole cake,” her mother said. She also said that her daughter’s appetite was so out of control that they had to lock the fridge.
Anna, who is so obese that she requires oxygen to help her breathe, is currently on a 900 calorie-a-day restrictive diet as her body does not break down food properly.
What is Prader-Willi Syndrome?
This is a rare genetic condition that causes obesity as the patient has constant urges to eat food. A person suffering from this condition has restricted growth and reduced muscle tone. Other problems include learning difficulties, lack of sexual development and behavioral problems. There is no cure for the condition, because of which those suffering from it require a strict diet plan and ensure weight loss. Some symptoms can be treated with hormone therapy.
Below are some symptoms of the condition, according to Mayo Clinic’s website.
In infants, symptoms include:
1. Poor muscle tone
2. Distinct facial features
3. Poor sucking reflex due to decreased muscle tone
4. Poor responsiveness
5. Underdeveloped genitals
Early childhood to adulthood symptoms include:
6. Food craving and weight gain
7. Underdeveloped sex organs
8. Poor growth and physical development
9. Cognitive impairment, such as mild to moderate intellectual disability
10. Speech problems
11. Behavioral problems
12. Sleep disorders
Despite Anna’s rare health condition, she was confident enough to participate in a pageant and was named Miss Amazing, a pageant that celebrates women and girls with disabilities.
Lori Brasfield-Sanders, director of Miss Amazing Mississippi, told SWNS: “The biggest misconception people have regarding people with disabilities is that they cannot lead full, engaging lives.” She added, “Anna is an amazing ambassador; she is very popular and she loves participating.”