Ageing is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn’t stop people from going to extreme lengths to stop Mother Nature in her tracks. Whether it’s by investing in the best antiaging products money can buy, making lifestyle changes, or, in some cases, cosmetic surgery.

But for people with a rare genetic condition called progeria, there is absolutely no way of slowing down the aging process.

Progeria is so rare that only one in four million people are born with the condition. There are around 140 known cases and an estimated 150 that are undiagnosed. It is the result of a genetic mutation which causes sufferers to age at eight times the normal rate.

The longest known progeria survivor was Leon Botha, who lived until he was 26 years old but had the body of a 208-year-old. However, the majority of people born with the condition will live into their mid-teens and early twenties.

Now the sad news has emerged that progeria sufferer Lucy Parke from Co Down, Ireland, has died at the age of just eight years old.

Tragically, those who are born with the condition are typically diagnosed when they are over a year old. To their unsuspecting parents, they appear to be otherwise healthy babies. It is only when they stop growing that they typically realize something is wrong.

Progeria dramatically cuts short sufferers’ lives because it accelerates the aging process. As a result, children are forced to deal with ailments that typically only affect people at the end of their lives including wrinkled skin, loss of eyesight, and cardiovascular problems.

Following Lucy’s tragic death on New Year’s Day, her family has paid tribute to their brave little girl.