Every single day is life-threatening for Lauren Stribling, a 15-year-old girl suffering from a rare genetic disease called Marfan syndrome, reported Daily Mail. A simple fall, push, or physical aggression in any way could kill her.
Her family has a strong history of this genetic disease, which killed both her aunt and grandma. It brings continual fear for Lauren and her mother, Cath.
Cath, 35 also has the disease. She passed it along to her child knowing there was a 50% chance she would also get the disease — it’s a decision she now deems as, “selfish”. Yet, when you lose your mother and sister to such disease, you just want someone else to love unconditionally like you loved them. That, for Cath, was Lauren, but unfortunately, Lauren was born with the same condition.
Marfan syndrome affects about 1 in every 3,000 individuals. It impacts a patient’s connective tissues. This changes the structure of the body, as well as internal organs. To learn more about this rare disease, click here.
People exhibit the condition in different ways, but one dangerous symptom Lauren faces is aortic enlargement. Essentially, a large vessel in her heart stretches out thinner than it’s supposed to. A blow could trigger intense heart problems, or even collapse a lung. Something that both Cath and Lauren have to be careful with every day of their lives.
It’s even more stressful on the daily because Lauren has been bullied at school. Many of her fellow students don’t understand her disease, and think she’s “faking it” and looking her attention. This is something very sad she faces– especially since they have physically threatened her. A slap or hard blow could kill her.
Cath brought it to the school’s attention and they have been helpful addressing the issue. No matter how successful it’s been, it’s a terrifying thought that Cath worries about every day.