I'm 16-Year-Old, Not 60 - Teen With Rare Genetic Disorder (PHOTOS)

I'm 16-Year-Old, Not 60 - Teen With Rare Genetic Disorder (PHOTOS)

I'm 16-Year-Old, Not 60 - Teen With Rare Genetic Disorder (PHOTOS)

A British teenager, Zara Hartshorn, 16, with an inherited genetic disorder that has made her look middle-aged practically since she was a child made a facelift operation.

Zara, originally from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was given a free facelift after a doctor heard of her condition, and she said the results have given her a new lease on life.

I'm 16-Year-Old, Not 60 - Teen With Rare Genetic Disorder (PHOTOS)

She inherited lipodystrophy - which makes her skin looked wrinkled and twisted - from her mother Tracey Gibson who also suffers from the illness.

But after hearing of her condition, a top surgeon in the US offered to perform cosmetic surgery for free. It has proved to be a complete success and Zara has felt able to start a relationship with new boyfriend Ricky Andrews and is even keen to go to college.

I'm 16-Year-Old, Not 60 - Teen With Rare Genetic Disorder (PHOTOS)

By the time she was 12, Zara was already being mistaken for a middle-aged woman - and was even mistaken for 17-year-old sister Chloe's mother.

I'm 16-Year-Old, Not 60 - Teen With Rare Genetic Disorder (PHOTOS)

She said: "Before I had surgery I was picked on for looking different, now I look the same as other girls my age.

"I don't feel like people are staring at me when I walk down the street anymore. I finally feel like a teenager.

I'm 16-Year-Old, Not 60 - Teen With Rare Genetic Disorder (PHOTOS)

"I've carried some hurtful comments with me all my life but now I feel ready to leave the past behind and forgive and forget."

I'm 16-Year-Old, Not 60 - Teen With Rare Genetic Disorder (PHOTOS)

Her newfound self-assurance has helped her start a relationship with apprentice painter and decorator Ricky, 22, three months ago, who she met through friends.

She said: "I've had boyfriends in the the past but I don't think any accepted my condition, really. But with Ricky it's never been an issue."

I'm 16-Year-Old, Not 60 - Teen With Rare Genetic Disorder (PHOTOS)
I'm 16-Year-Old, Not 60 - Teen With Rare Genetic Disorder (PHOTOS)

 

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