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Sussex mum's pain at daughter's tragic destiny
The mother of a girl with a rare ageing condition has admitted she considered killing herself and her daughter.
Kerry Okines, 38, said she sank into depression after learning about her daughter Hayley’s condition.
Bexhill High School pupil Hayley, now 14, suffers from the extremely rare condition progeria.
Only 140 people have ever been diagnosed with the illness and sufferers usually die before they reach the age of 13, from heart disease and strokes.
Ms Okines, of Meadow Crescent, Bexhill, said that she sank into depression after learning about her daughter’s tragic destiny.
Darkest thoughts She said she had visions of going into Hayley’s room and finding her dead in bed and “could not imagine how she would cope with the pain of losing her”.
She said that when Hayley was about two-and-a half, she had considered sitting in a car with her daughter and filling it with exhaust fumes.
A short time later she sat with pills and a bottle of vodka – but luckily was found by Hayley’s father Mark Okines, and she attended counselling.
'I don't want to grieve for her while she's still alive'
Speaking to The Argus about her darkest thoughts, Ms Okines said: “I think that a lot of people can relate to what I what I was going through and I want to be open about it, I want to be honest.
“At the time it was too much to bear.
“I didn’t know how to deal with things and enjoy my time with her.
“But now I have learnt how to. I don’t want to grieve for her while she is still alive.
“At the time I didn’t think that the counselling helped but now I realise it did.”
In the past 12 months Hayley has dislocated her hips six times and is now wheelchair-bound.
But her mother described her as a “typical teenager” and said she had been able to return to school four weeks ago.
Ms Okines added: “It is very hard seeing her not walking.”
“I look at her Facebook page and people’s kind comments really mean a lot.”
She said Hayley’s siblings, Louis, ten, and Ruby, seven, were a great support for their sister.