Inspiring Mass. teenager being laid to rest

SHARON, Mass. (AP) — A Foxborough teenager whose battle with a rare genetic condition that accelerates the aging process inspired professional athletes and spurred research into the disorder is being laid to rest.

A funeral for 17-year-old Sam Berns is scheduled for Tuesday morning at Temple Israel in Sharon.

Berns died Friday of complications from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, commonly known as progeria. The Progeria Research Foundation was founded by his parents.

Berns was diagnosed with progeria when he was 22 months old. His parents founded the nonprofit foundation after encountering a lack of information and research on the condition.

Berns became the subject of an HBO documentary, "Life According to Sam." The exposure has brought greater recognition to the condition, which causes musculoskeletal degeneration, cardiovascular problems and other symptoms associated with aging.

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