Weighing just 20kg and standing at 87cm tall, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Sari Rezita Ariyanti is a toddler.
But in fact, the 24-year-old from Indonesia suffers from a rare condition that means that as well as being small for her age, she is also unable to walk and can barely speak.
The second of 5 children, wheelchair-bound Sari is the only one of her siblings to display these symptoms, and there is no history of the condition within her family.
It is partly due to this that Sari’s mum Suryani didn’t realise that there was anything wrong with her daughter until she was 2-years-old.
Sadly, because the family doesn’t have much money and live in a remote location, they were unable to take Sari to see a doctor until she was 13.
Suryani explains, ‘aged just two years, she was unable to do anything. She could not talk and could not walk.’
‘They said my daughter has slow growth. The doctor didn’t know what the cause was, they just said she had difficulty walking and speaking. Whereas her organs such as her heart and liver are good.’
In spite of her childlike appearance, Sari often asks for new clothes and make-up like other girls her age and spends most of her time with her devoted older sister.
Recently, Sari visited the medical team at Ibnu Sina Hospital in Sigli City where doctors diagnosed her with a hormonal growth disorder and believe she may be suffering from Turner Syndrome.
The syndrome affects 1 in every 2500 baby girls worldwide and symptoms include stunted growth and undeveloped reproductive organs.
Whilst there is no cure for Turner Syndrome, it can be managed with hormone therapy if diagnosed in childhood. Tragically, aged 24, it is too late for Sari, so instead her best hope at living a full life comes from intensive physiotherapy to train and strengthen her muscles.
Despite the devastating prognosis, mum Suryani remains positive about her daughter’s future.
She says, ‘if we take good care of her and do therapy one day she might be able to walk. She could do many things. All my family love her very much. ’