For a disorder so rare it's only reported in 1 in 8 million newborns, Lucas County has become a unique home to two little girls with Progeria who have started the fight for their lives.
Progeria is a genetic condition that accelerates aging in children. Tragically, most of these children don't make it to their teens, but 8-year-old Kaylee Halko and 14-month-old Carly Judzia hope to beat the odds through a new drug combination trial.
"Over the past seven years, it's gone from nothing can be done to they found the gene that causes Progeria and now we're starting our third drug trial," said Tim Halko, Kaylee's father, to WKYC.
Carly was diagnosed this part April and doctors predict that for every year she's alive, she will age seven to ten years in return. The rapid degeneration puts her at risk for stroke, heart attack and other ailments that usually impact older adults.
But preliminary results of the drug Rapamycin shows it can slow the aging process by removing progerin, a protein that causes Progeria when the body produces too much of it.
When doctors told Carly's parents about the drug, her parents agreed to put her through the trial. They could not wait for any other treatment options running on borrowed time.
"If kids with Progeria age seven to ten years for every year, then what's a month? What's a day? Give me the drugs let's start." mother Heather Kudzia said.
What researchers will learn from Carly and Kaylee's trials could be groundbreaking for the human aging process as a whole, but their families just hope it will buy their girls a second chance at life.
"It could mean another ten years on her life and could see her into her twenties, possibly, instead of her teens, so it's pretty important." Ryan Kudzia said.