Nihal Bitla, the one-of-a-kind 15-year-old boy who was suffering from rare genetic disease Progeria passed away in Telangana on May 2. It is said that one in four to eight million births undergo genetic mutation and Nihal’s case was one of them, which resulted in Progeria. Nihal was a healthy child at birth, and was diagnosed with the rate genetic disease at the age of 4.
After Amitabh Bachchan’s movie Paa released, where he is seen playing the character of a Progeria patient, Nihal was bullied in school. His classmates said mean and cruel things to him, but thanks to his positive outlook, the youngster could look past all of it.
Soon, Nihal became the face of Progeria in India. With his optimistic outlook in life, he became one of the most popular teenagers in India. Although the 15-year-old was suffering from rapid ageing, hair loss and stunted growth, he always had a positive approach towards life.
In the year 2014, Nihal Bitla featured on the page of Humans of Bombay on Facebook, where he shared what he felt about Aamir Khan‘s movie Taare Zameen Par that showcased the story of a dyslexic child. When Aamir took notice of it, he rushed to meet the youngster. The two met, exchanged gifts and shared some memorable moments with each other. (ALSO READ: Aamir Khan made dream come true of 14-year-old Nihal Bitla suffering from progeria)
The Facebook community page Team Nihal shared a message after knowing about his demise: “Nihal, your contagious smile, positive attitude, inspiring chats, optimistic outlook will give us strength for years to come. You have left us behind with heavy hearts for a higher place, Rest in peace our dear friend. Our thoughts and condolences with family and friends.”
There is no cure or treatment for Progeria, also known as Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) in India. Although Nihal Bitla has passed away, there are more kids suffering from this rare genetic condition, with one family in India having most of their children as patients. Usually, kids who suffer from Progeria do not live past the age of 13. May Nihal Bitla’s soul rest in peace.