Ashley Hegi and Progeria

A southern Alberta community is remembering a girl described by teachers as a four-foot-tall teen with a 10-foot-high attitude who defied the odds of a rare genetic disease that causes premature aging.

Ashley Hegi, 17, was one of 53 people in the world — and three in Canada — with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome. There is no known cure, and most children with the condition usually die around age 13.

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