Maria Audete do Nascimento was born on May 7, 1981. This makes her 35 — but she doesn’t look a day over nine months old.
Doctors believe Maria, who lives in Brazil, suffered from a rare and severe case of hypothyroidism at birth, which created a significant deficiency of thyroid hormones.
When Maria was nine months old, the autoimmune disease stopped her from developing physically, mentally and cognitively. It’s a real-life case “Benjamin Button,” but with a bizarre twist. The most frustrating part is that Maria’s condition most likely could have been cured or managed at the very least, had she been given the correct medication at birth.
Maria’s family lives in a mud house in Ceara, Brazil. Her birth mother died 13 years ago; she lives with her father and step-mother, Dora.
Though her medical circumstances are heartbreaking, Maria is surrounded by love. Dora, who has taken care of Maria since the day she married her father, believes she was put on earth to take care of Maria.
She says Maria was sent to her as a gift from God, which is such a beautiful message to send to her step-daughter, who needs all the care and support she can get.
The University of Ceara Facility of Medicine has agreed to provide free treatment to Maria, to enable her to help her speak and walk.