Josiah Viera swung for the fence when he stepped up to the plate for the Philadelphia Phillies. The six year old loves baseball so when that once in a lifetime chance came along he grabbed it with both hands.
Josiah Viera is someone who takes nothing for granted, especially time, because at the tender age of six years old he’s close to halfway through his life already. Josiah is the one in eight million who was born with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome.
Progeria, as it is better known, is an extremely rare genetic condition which appears to cause aspects of aging at a very early age.
But at six years of age, weighing in at just 15 pounds and standing at just over two feet tall, Josiah Viera is an inspiration to millions.
Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome
His diagnosis process began two short months after his birth when his mother realised he wasn’t thriving in growth. The family doctor put her in touch with a specialist who confirmed that he had Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome around the time of his first birthday.
In a recent interview with ESPN, his mother Jennifer said, “It’s hard to explain being a mom or a parent and knowing that potentially you’re going to outlive your child,”
The Philadelphia Phillies
Josiah has always been a baseball fan and like the majority of boys his age he wants to get involved. Jennifer had her concerns over his health but she allowed him to play for his local mini-league team. Sadly however, after his first game he was hospitalised, suffering a series of minor strokes.
His team were very understanding and when they threw him a surprise birthday party he was granted one of his biggest wishes – four tickets to see the Philadelphia Phillies. Josiah’s favourite player, Ryan Howard, greeted him before the game and presented him with his own jersey, a bat and batting gloves (which he’d practised in the day before).
On the final day of his t-ball season over a thousand people showed up to watch him play and afterwards his mother said, “I have had lots of people come to me since then, adults, little kids, teenagers who play softball and baseball, and say that he’s their hero because he didn’t let his condition stop him,” Jennifer said. “He was placed here to touch people’s lives.”
So many people squander their lives, wasting away in front of the TV or computer screen, never fulfilling the potential they possess. If they realised how finite their lives really are they’d surely want to make the most of them. That is why Josiah Viera is such an inspiration.
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images: citizenstandard.com, geisinger.org