Kaylee Halko is an American Musical.ly (now known as TikTok) artist and social media sensation. At a mere age of 13, she has already become a successful musician with a humongous following on social media circles. One of the very few known sufferers of a devastating rare disease called Progeria, Kaylee Halko could have given up on life. But the fact that she possesses an equally strong desire to not let the disease mess with her life, she keeps working towards her dreams. She has a couple of documentaries in her name and a novel which she co-authored along with her mother. Her inspiring tale continues to woo audiences worldwide and she keeps motivating people with severe disabilities to never give up on their dreams. The doctors have said that she might not live long but the immense spirit Kaylee has exhibited proves otherwise. The will to live longer makes her going even at a physical age of about 105 years. And as she is going through a newly introduced treatment, there are hopes that she may just survive this disease and live a long and healthy life.
Rise to Fame
Her parents could have never imagined that their child born with this very rare disease would be able to live even a normal life. But Kaylee’s meteoric rise to stardom at a tender age has proved them wrong. When in school, her friends were quite supportive of her and created social media accounts in her name. It made her quite popular but not as widely.
She first caught the public’s eye when she appeared on a show called 20/20. That laid the foundation for her to become known among the public. Slowly, her social media following started rising.
Soon after, Kaylee decided to launch her musical career. She was self aware of the fact that the big music labels might not resonate along with her. So she created an account on TikTok. This turned out to be a stepping stone in her life. As her popularity rapidly rose, she became one of the most sought after teen idols. She gained more than 2.5 million fans on TikTok and a 100 million hearts. Based on the website standards, this is a massive success. The celebrity status followed and people started stopping her on the streets for selfies and autographs.
Since then, she has appeared in WTOL 11 as a guest. She became a real darling in the eyes of public when she started raising fund for The Annual Kaylee’s course, an initiative to make the world a better place for the less fortunate. Her book titled ‘Old before My Time’ is a biographical telling of her story and has been selling in good numbers.
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Behind the Curtains
When Timothy George Halko and Marla Lynn Halko welcomed a baby girl in their family, their happiness was beyond any description. Kaylee’s first cries were heard in an Ohio hospital on 21st July 2003.
Although she came across like a normal child initially, she started showing signs of fast ageing. The doctors underwent tests and it turned out that she was suffering from a rare disease known as Progeria, which apparently makes the patients age ten times faster than normal. The family was broken with this revelation but resolved that she would lead a normal life for as long as she can. The patients suffering from the disease usually have 13 years to live.
At school, Kaylee had her share of bullying and name calling. But she did find some supportive friends who liked her for who she was. Kaylee showed an inclination towards dancing and fine arts from an early stage.
While growing up in suburban Ohio with three brothers, Kaylee exhibited extraordinary strength and tolerance from an early age. Despite her bullying, she insisted on taking bus to school every day.
Some hateful students went two steps ahead and created hate pages in her name on the social media platforms. When it became out of hand, Kaylee changed her school. But she never quite let this bullying and constant hate to take a blow to her heart and kept her head cool and eyes full of dreams.
At the age of 8, she appeared on ABC’s ’20/20 and won the heart of American public with her sense of humor and self awareness. When she was asked about the basic difference between her and other people, she said- “You have hair and I am bald.”
In her book ‘Old before My Time’, Kaylee has described how she felt growing up not normal and how her mother had been the greatest pillar of support for her. Kaylee has positive outlook towards life and the recent breakthroughs in medical science could prove to be a boon to the Halko family. World needs more people like her. She is a ray of hope to the misfits, to the ones who are ‘different’, that they can in fact rise from their disabilities and redefine their life.
Anybody can win in life if they decide to never let their limitations halt their journey. The sheer force of self confidence and the spirit to ‘never give up’ goes a long way in determining who you are as a person.