Olivia Farnsworth’s story seems more science fiction than real, as she is a little girl who is immune to pain. This British girl is becoming known around the world for not feeling pain, hunger or sleep. Olivia lacks a part of chromosome 6, a genetic alteration unique in the world at the moment that has earned her the nickname “bionic child”.
Olivia Farnsworth, the child immune to pain
Olivia Farsworth rose to fame in her native Huddersfield, a town located between Manchester and Leeds, when she was run over and dragged more than 20 meters by a car. She, far from bursting into tears or complaining of pain, stood up and asked her family who looked on in astonishment “What’s wrong?”.
The girl had a tire mark on her chest from the hit-and-run and suffered burns on one foot and her hip. As the doctors explained, Olivia was saved by not tensing up at the moment of impact. She remained relaxed and this prevented fractures.
Chromosome 6 contains the major histocompatibility complex and is related to the body’s immune response. According to sources, complete monosomy 6 – the total loss of this chromosome – is incompatible with human life, so Olivia must be missing a part of it and it is very complex to determine its exact function. This chromosome contains about 100 genes, each with a different task.
A child different from the rest
“The chromosomal disorder makes her immune to pain and she has no sense of danger,” her mother Niki Trepak tells the English Daily Mail. Not feeling pain is not the only problem this little girl has in her daily life, though.
The mother explains that she is often not hungry and can go for up to 72 hours without sleep, so they are forced to give her sleeping pills to help her fall asleep.
The hit-and-run is not the only shock Olivia Farsworth’s family has experienced. A few years ago, when she was in kindergarten, she suffered a fall and broke her lip. The girl didn’t even cry even though her mouth was full of blood. And after operating on her lip, the doctor who treated her noticed that she felt no pain at all, as if she were under anesthesia.
Even as a baby, she was not like the rest of her siblings. “Olivia never cried, at nine months she stopped sleeping normally and her hair did not grow properly until she was four years old. In spite of everything she is a very happy little girl,” Niki Trepak relates.
At the moment there is no other known case in the world of a person with the same chromosomal disorder, which makes Olivia unique.