While working for Walt Disney World entertainment, one has opportunites to work what are called "specials". These are specially-arranged meet-and-greets for all sorts of groups and people: a birthday surprise; a corporate event; a hospital visit; a Disney Store opening. One day, I became part of a seemingly unscheduled special.

Allen, our escort that day, came to us between sets and indicated that we'd be doing an extra set during our lunch. He explained that our set location would be closed off for just a few guests. We dressed, walked out and were astonished. There, standing before us, were six or seven of the most delicate looking children we'd ever seen. It took me a minute or two to decipher why they looked they way they did: very sparse hair; short-statured; petite facial features; tiny voices; all with walkers. These children had progeria.

We were very playful yet delicate with each and all of them, taking as many photos with them as they liked and signing as many autographs as they wished. At one point, I grabbed Allen's hand and dragged him offstage. I had begun to tear up, but didn't want the guests to know. It was strangely overwhelming for me to see these children. I had a quick little cry backstage and went back out to finish the set.

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