This girl stopped growing at the age of three
Sari Rezita was born to a family of poor fishermen on October 16, 1993, in rural Indonesia. Her mother, Suryani, was overjoyed at the birth of her second daughter.
What they didn't have in material wealth, they more than made up for with love, so Sari always had a very happy home.
For the first few months after Sari's birth, everything seemed wonderful. Her parents were proud of their beautiful new daughter and her sister couldn't stop cuddling with her.
But as time went on, they began to notice that something didn't seem quite right with Sari.
"At the age of two, she couldn't do anything," recalls Suryani. "She couldn't walk or talk." Sari's parents were concerned, but they knew that children develop at different rates and decided to wait and see what happened. After all, they were poor and a trip to the city to see a doctor would be very expensive.
Years went by and it was clear that Sari's development wasn't normal. But she was still a happy, loving child.
Sari was now the second of five children and she adored playing and singing with her brothers and sisters.
But everyone could see that Sari was different. It was obvious to all that at some point around the age of three, she had stopped growing.
Finally, when Sari was 13 years old, her family knew that she needed to see a doctor. She was a teenager but looked like a toddler and there was no more denying that something had to be checked.
"The doctors said my daughter had slow growth. They don't know why. They just said she had difficulties to walk and talk, while her organs like her heart and liver are perfectly healthy," recalled Suryani.
Suryani didn't understand. None of Sari's siblings had this mysterious condition and, as far as she knew, none of her relatives had ever suffered from it in the past.
Sari needed a lot of care, but everyone in the family chipped in to help, especially her big sister.
Today, Sari is 24 years old and nothing has changed. She still has the body of a three-year-old, measuring only 34 inches in height and weighing a mere 44 pounds.
Unfortunately, Sari still can't talk properly and her speech sounds to most like the babbling of an infant. But Suryani's special motherly bond with her daughter has made it possible for her to understand what her daughter is saying.
Suryani regrets not being able to spoil Sari: "Sometimes she wants me to buy her clothes, face powder, shoes, or other things. But I don’t have the money to buy that for her."
Recently, Suryani and her husband brought Sari to Dr. Suriadi Umar. He had already seen three other cases similar to Sari's and was able to shed more light on the situation.
Dr. Umar believes that Sari may suffer from Turner syndrome. This chromosomal abnormality is very rare and there have only been 1,200 reported cases worldwide. It appears only to affect girls and the symptoms match Sari's almost perfectly: early arrested growth, limited mental development, and a short neck and rib cage.
Turner syndrome is incurable, but according to Dr. Umar, "if one is diagnosed early enough, the disease can be taken in charge to a certain extent." Yet, unfortunately for Sari, this wasn't the case: "We lack resources here to help Sari," he added.
Sari would need to be treated by specialists who could work with her intensively to develop methods for dealing with her specific case. But for financial reasons, this remains nothing but a dream.
Suryani, however, insists on remaining positive about her daughter's future. "If we give her good care, and if we find the proper therapy, she might be able to walk one day. She could do many things. And the family loves her very much."
You can find out more about Sari's story in this video...
Sari is lucky to be surrounded by a loving, supportive family and is sure to have a happy life. But one can't help but wonder what her life could have been like if her family had had access to affordable medical care when she was a baby. Health care should be available to everyone, not just those who are fortunate enough to be able to pay for expensive private health insurance. And when we look at a case like Sari's, it's hard to deny just how true this is.