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Our Featured Champion


Carly Kudzia

Mercy Children’s Hospital

Progeria Syndrome

Carly’s mantra is “tiny but awesome,” and it’s true in everything she does. While Carly leads the life of a typical second-grader, participating in Girl Scouts, learning tap and jazz, excelling in math, and becoming fiercely independent, that’s where Carly’s “typical” ends.

She is just one of 17 kids living with progeria in the U.S. Progeria is an extremely rare genetic condition that causes her to age eight to 10 years each year. Children with progeria have small stature, shorter life spans and experience heart disease and stroke, along with other conditions typically associated with the average aging public, occurring as early as 6, versus 70 or 80 years of age.

Carly loves crafting, YouTube videos, making slime, Curious George, traveling, dolls, playing school and cooking. Her latest obsession is LOL Surprise Dolls — collecting them, watching YouTubers unwrap them in videos, playing with them and making videos herself.

Donations allow Carly’s caretakers to collaborate with global experts on progeria and help pay for diagnostic equipment.