As a seemingly healthy 5-year-old Christine Honeycutt was enjoying a normal childhood and ready to start school. The patch of grey skin on her forehead didn’t seem too much of a concern to her mother who assumed she’d just banged her head on a door.
Shortly after, the grey patch hadn’t disappeared and Christine’s mother noticed a dark blotch on her daughter’s neck. She took her to the paediatrician who dismissed the marks as bruising and prescribed some lotions, telling her to avoid sunlight throughout treatment.
Months passed but the mark didn’t, and in fact became worse. The small grey mark on her forehead had become a crease which ran the length of her brow so her mother took her to a new paediatrician who gave a similar diagnosis to the first.
Not satisfied with the results The Honeycutt family sought expert advice and were confronted with the news that the now 11-year-old Christine was suffering with a rare disorder called Parry-Romberg syndrome (PRS).
PRS is a slow, progressive deterioration of skin and soft tissue about the face. The symptoms give the sufferer the appearance that one side of the face is ageing while the other has stopped. The usual outcome is a lop-sided visage which can, to date, only be rectified by corrective surgery.
According to information provided by the National Organization for Rare Disorders it is estimated that around one million people worldwide suffer with the disorder and it still remains unknown what causes it.
Early signs of PRS can begin to surface as early as five years of age but can come as late as 15. There is no known cure for it and as has been the case with Christine Honeycutt, the only way to rectify the problems it causes is through surgery.
Scientists and researchers are still no nearer to a cure, but for Christine the surgery has worked wonders and to look at her you’d never know she’d suffered with the disorder at all.
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