13 year old girl who looks like a grandma

Zara Hartshorn, 13, lives at home with her mom, sisters and a brother. There is, of course, the usual rough-and-tumble and sibling bickering one would expect in a large family. But, Zara said, she feels safe and loved. No one makes fun of her, unlike every time she steps outside her front door, where she's scared.

She looks like a grandma because she suffers from lipodystrophy, a disease that causes the supporting fatty tissue under the skin to crumble even while the skin continues to grow, often at an alarming rate.

Zara Hartshorn’s mother Tracey also suffers from this disease, as do two of Zara’s siblings. Zara looks older than her 21-year-old sister Jolene and 16-year-old brother Tommy.

Zara was, she said, a confident little girl. Then at age 5, the bullying started. "The kids started calling me names," she said.

Zara went home in tears. "I asked my mom why I was different," she said.

As she grows older, Zara's anxiety has increased. She lives in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, in a hardscrabble, deprived neighborhood. Life here is tough. For her, it's tougher.

"I want a face-lift," she said.

Her mother had surgery when she was a teenager in an effort to smooth her wrinkled face. But, Pollard said, it didn't help much. "My expectations were too high," she said. "I thought I would look like a normal kid ... but I didn't."

Read more at ABC News

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