Aamir Khan met Nihal Bitla, a 14-year-old fan of his who has progeria, an extremely rare genetic disorder that causes premature ageing. Nihal wanted to meet Aamir after watching — and being inspired by — the movie Taare Zameen Par.
On 17th December, Nihal Bitla had said on a Facebook post that he wanted to meet Aamir Khan. Nihal has progeria — an extremely rare genetic disorder in which symptoms of aging manifest at a very early age.
The Aamir Khan movie Taare Zameen Par had given Nihal courage, and he wanted to be able to thank the actor in person.
You might recall seeing progeria depicted in the Amitabh Bacchan movie Paa. This is what Nihal had to say:
When I was in the 4th standard and the movie Paa released, my classmates began teasing me and calling me Auro — I felt terrible at that point, so I came home and told my parents. My dad told me to tell them ‘to chill’ and that ‘I’m special’ – so I did. I don’t blame those who don’t understand me, they like me are children after all.
The Better India, among others, had carried the original Humans of Bombay post that eventually led to the meeting. Here it is:
“My parents found out I had progeria when I was 1 year old, but they continued to give me a normal lifestyle. Like any…
Posted by Humans of Bombay on Thursday, 17 December 2015
Yesterday, Nihal’s dream came true.
When the teenager met the superstar, he gifted Khan a drawing of Ganesha, and in turn received a big bag of goodies — including board games and DVDs.
The post-meeting Facebook post:
“Thank you Aamir uncle for making my dream come true. Your ‘Taare Zameen Par’ always inspired me to face adverse…
Posted by Team Nihal on Monday, 21 December 2015
Nihal has requested Aamir Khan’s support with the Progeria Research Foundation, which aims to identify and find treatment for 60 children with progeria. Watch this video to learn more about this disorder and the work being done by the foundation:
Progeria, which is almost never inherited and is instead caused due to a rare genetic mutation, has an incidence rate of 1 in 8 million.
People with the disorder rarely survive beyond their mid-teens or early twenties.
While progeria is physically debilitating, it does not adversely affect mental development — sufferers have normal or above average intelligence.