A 12-year-old girl by the name of Olivia Farnsworth from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was called “bionic girl” by doctors when she was 8 years old as she is unable to feel pain and never feels tired or hungry.
Olivia was born with a rare chromosome- chromosome 6 deletion, a condition that has left many doctors, scientists, and her family stunned.
Chromosome 6 deletion is a congenital condition were some of the parts of the chromosome 6 gets deleted during the process of cell division. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Chromosome numbers vary from organism to organism. Abnormality in chromosomes occurred due to the mutations in the genome.
The majority of the genes that are present in chromosome 6 are associated with the immune system. Chromosome 6 is the cause of diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, and polycystic kidney disease. The cytological analysis revealed that a significant portion of the “p” arm was not present from the single copy of chromosome 6. Thus the body does not send the signals to the brain that detects pain and hunger even tiredness like in Olivia’s case.
Olivia’s Mother, Niki Trepak, said: Doctors have called Olivia the bionic girl. She has absolutely no sense of danger.
Olivia got run over by a car and was dragged 20 meters down the street. It’s any parents’ worst nightmare, Niki said it is something she will never get over. After the incident, Olivia just got up and started walking back and was like, ‘What’s going on?
Her mom rushed her to the hospital CT scans, x-rays showed no sign of injuries. The doctors think what saved her from injury was that she did not tense up. Olivia only had a tire mark on her chest, and she had no skin on her hip or toe.
Olivia got diagnosed with Chromosome 6; geneticists have told the family they have never come across the disorder and that Olivia is the only known person with this disorder.
The condition means Olivia never feels hungry never gets tired; she can go for up to 3 days with no sleep and then only sleep for only two hours. Olivia is on medication to help her sleep; it allows her to get about six hours of sleep a night sleep.
Olivia has bitten through her lip without noticing. Niki said from the time Olivia was a baby; she said she is made of steel. Niki was, however, never aware that Olivia was unable to feel pain.
One of the side effects of this disorder is occasional outbursts and violence. Olivia does not like to be poked or tease and will bang her head against a wall and hurt herself without knowing.
Despite everything, she is a happy teen.
Olivia has had the same group of friends since kindergarten, and they look out for Olivia’s best interest. It has allowed her to go to sleepovers and have a healthy childhood.
To her, it’s normal never to experience pain, hunger, or tiredness. Olivia’s friends think that she is a bit of a celebrity due to all the attention.
Her mom Niki told The Open Mind, that “Liv (Olivia) just takes it all in her stride and isn’t phased by anything, she’s the most caring, kid and compassionate child you could ever wish to meet.”
Images credit: Niki Trepak