Mother Sarah Tweedie-Connor noticed that her daughter, Teri-Leigh was already at least a head taller than all her peers when she was only six years old.
Teri-Leigh had begun puberty many years early.
Her doctors diagnosed her with hypothalamic hamartoma, a non-cancerous brain tumor, that in some cases, can cause some patients to begin experiencing puberty far earlier than otherwise expected.
For Teri-Leigh, this meant beginning to grow pubic hair and breasts when she was only six years old.
Now, at 10, she stands at 5’2”, and looks “more like a teenager” than a child. Others say she has a mature face, and her mother even reports that Teri-Leigh is beginning to experience mood swings.
Tweedie-Connor has no clue how to manage her daughter’s life. “It’s heartbreaking to see my daughter wonder why she looks nothing like her friends,” Tweedie-Connor admitted. “She’s so self-conscious.”
From Tweedie-Connor’s perspective, her daughter never had the chance to experience a normal childhood. “While other kids…are running around concentrating on nothing but being children, my daughter is worrying about the changes in her body and battling mood swings.”
Teri-Leigh is currently undergoing hormone treatment to delay her periods from starting, but the treatment cannot do anything to reverse the changes that have already occurred; the young girl often gets kicked out of playgrounds and children’s amusement parks because adults always think she’s a teenager, not a child.
It’s often “humiliating” for her, Tweedie-Connor explained, but there’s nothing else that can be done.
Hormone treatment can only control the forthcoming sexual development changes, but can do nothing to alter what has already happened – including Teri-Leigh’s mood swings that cause her to break her toys and throw tantrums.
And at her current size, her mother has trouble restraining her from physically lashing out.
Tweedie-Connor is now hoping to raise money for Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartoma UK to increase the awareness of this disease: “We hope by sharing her story we can raise awareness about this relatively unheard of condition and end the stigma my girl has to face on a daily basis.”