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Published: Friday, 12/22/2006

Tree farm raises $17,000 for progeria research

Duke Wheeler has always believed in the spirit of Christmas, and the results of a recent fund-raiser for a local girl has further proved it.

The Whitehouse Christmas Tree Farm raised about $17,100 throughout the season to help progeria research, said Mr. Wheeler, the farm s owner. The money will help people like Kaylee Halko, of Monclova Township, who has battled the disease.

Diagnosed when she was less than a year old, Kaylee is one of only about a dozen children in the United States and about 40 in the world living with progeria, a disease characterized by accelerated aging.

Always fatal, the disease advances age so quickly that by the time the children reach their early teens, they experience the physical maladies of people decades older.

Mr. Wheeler said that $5 for every tree sold at the farm was given to progeria research. He added that several people donated additional money.

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