Mississippi girl with rare genetic disorder seeks normal life

Julia Climers (Source: WTVA)
Julia Climers (Source: WTVA)

TIPPAH COUNTY, MS (WMC/WTVA) - A young girl in Tippah County is living with a rare disorder called Lipodystrophy.

Julia Climers' family said only about five cases of her type of Lipodystrophy have been reported.

Lipodystrophy is a disorder in which the body is unable to correctly produce fat.

Tears fell down Julia's face as she talked about her daily routine and life at school.

"They [classmates] make fun of me, because I am small," Julia said. "They exclude me in everything and never play with me."

Her niece--Keira Climers, who is just a couple of years younger than Julia--said Julia is often bullied so she tries to encourage her and help her emotionally.

"Sometimes people are being mean and other times she thinks about her condition and she cries, because she realizes some day she could possibly die," Keira said.

Julia is a 6th grader at Walnut Elementary School. She said she has told many teachers about her being bullied, but they have not done anything about it.

Her family just wants her to live a normal life.

She's just like any other 11-year-old. She likes to play basketball, collect stuffed animals, and play with toys.

Still, her rare disorder sets her apart and makes her a target for bullies.

For her age, Julia is way too familiar with doctors' offices. She has an appointment at least twice a week.

"She's beginning to lose weight," her mother, Anita Climers said. "She's beginning to thin in her legs and thin in her arms due to Lipodystrophy."

Anita said Julia has very bad vision and her hair is not growing at the rate it should grow.

She falls very often because her feet turn in as she walks.

Since her body struggles to produce fat, Anita said most of Julia's fat is stored in her face and even her abdomen. 

"After the body thins in the legs and arms it can move inward into the internal muscles and eventually cause death, without treatment," Anita said.

Julia wants to grow taller, but doctors said she will most likely stand no taller than 4-foot-2. Which is the height she is now at age 11.

Despite her disorder, Julia said she wants to live out her dream to become a basketball player.

She and her family will be leaving for Bethesda, Maryland, near the end of this month. There Julia will undergo several tests. The tests will hopefully give Julia more options for treatment, which could help improve her quality of life.

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