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News Obituaries

Brooke Greenberg, 20, who suffered from rare genetic condition, dies

A Reisterstown woman who at 20 retained the appearance of a toddler as the result of a rare genetic disorder has died.

Brooke Greenberg died Oct. 24, her father, Howard Greenberg, said.

"She was a very special child," he said. "She gave nothing but love."

Because of her condition, Greenberg, who has been profiled by several national media outlets, suffered from multiple medical issues. Bronchomalacia, a condition that makes breathing difficult, led to her death.

The woman had been studied by doctors seeking to understand the aging process. Only her hair and fingernails grew.

She was frail in stature and communicated through gestures and facial expressions, like any 6-month-old child, her father said. She was able to scoot and walk with a gait trainer. She was scheduled to graduate in June from Ridge Ruxton School, a Towson school for students who need intensive special education.

"If somebody said to me, 'I could fix her,'" her father said, "I would tell them, she's not broken."

Howard Greenberg said his daughter's life expectancy had been five years of age. She suffered a stroke at 5 and spent six months in the hospital, he said, but didn't suffer any long-term effects. "Every time she went into the hospital, she always came back home," he said. "That was the miracle of Brooke."

Despite her age, Howard Greenberg said Brooke behaved similarly to a small child. "It's rare that you meet anyone so completely innocent," he said.

She is survived by her mother, Melanie, and three sisters.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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