HBO recently launched its fall documentary series, and one of these movies that just debuted is titled "Life According to Sam," which details the life of a teenager who lives with a very rare genetic condition: progeria. The condition is so rare that little is known about it (at least relative to most other medical conditions). However, it does have distinct features.
Someone with progeria resembles that of an aging person, even though most people with progeria do not live past their teenage years. Progeria causes full body hair loss, distinct facial features, wrinkled skin and general failure to develop physically. Ultimately, people with progeria die at a very early age, rarely seeing their 20s.
The documentary follows the life of this young boy named Sam, and the trials, tribulations and success he has living with the condition. For the purpose of this blog, Sam's story serves a very important function to the Social Security disability process: progeria, like some other medical conditions, is considered part of the "Compassionate Allowances Initiative."
This program basically fast-tracks Social Security disability claims that deal with very rare conditions or diseases. Plenty of people out there could qualify for this initiative so that they can enter an expedited Social Security process and ultimately receive the benefits they need and deserve.
Part of the journey in "Life According to Sam" is the process Sam goes through to test a new progeria drug, a brave act since there aren't many people with progeria out there, and little information to go on regarding the disease. We can only hope that, in the coming decades, an effective treatment (or even cure) will be discovered.
Source: The Artery, "Documentary Follows Foxborough Family's Search For Progeria Cure," Erin Trahan, Oct. 20, 2013