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Insatiable 10-Year-Old Boy Weighs 90 Kg, Eats Anything He Gets His Hands On

At age 10, Caden Benjamin, from Mpumalanga, South Africa already tips the scales at a whopping 90 kg. He suffers from a rare genetic disorder known as Prader-Willi syndrome, which makes him feel hungry all the time.

Caden was always a hungry child, but his mother, Zola, realized that there was something unusual about his appetite at age 3, when he already weighed 40 kilograms. He took the boy to several doctors, but no one could explain why he was so hungry all the time and gaining so much weight. Finally, a doctor at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria ran some tests and diagnosed Caden with Prader-Willi syndrome, an incurable condition that affects about 20 000 people worldwide.

Photo: Saturday Star video screengrab

While most of use eat just three meals a day, Caden’s hunger had him asking for food every hour. “Normally he would start off the day by eating four slices of cheese toast and then an hour later he would drink Coke and eat leftover food from the night before,” his mother told The Saturday Star. “Then at lunch he’d eat two large pieces of chicken. He’d eat hourly for the rest of the day.”

The big problem was that Prader-Willi sufferers actually need less food that regular people, because their bodies have less muscle and tend to burn fewer calories. Doctors recently told Caden’s mother that he needed to go on a diet, if she wanted him to stay alive. But keeping him from eating has been a real struggle, due to his constant hunger.

Photo: Saturday Star video screengrab

“He’s really battling. I feel so terrible… but the doctors said that if I want to see my son alive, then he has to go on a diet,” Zola Benjamin said. “At one point, Caden was eating toilet paper. He’d eat rolls of it. Actually, he’d eat any paper he would find in the house. If there’s nothing for him to eat, he’ll scrape together the dirt he finds on the floor and eat that.”

To make matters worse, Caden had to undergo a tracheotomy a few years back, so he now breathes through a tube inserted in his windpipe. He spends most of his time on the couch or in bed, and gets bouts of depression because he can’t do things that children his age are supposed to do.

Photo: Saturday Star video screengrab

“Sometimes he’ll just break down in tears and tells me he wants to go and play with the other children outside,” Zola said.”But he is unable to do that and there’s no way I can help him.”

Caden’s mother is unable to work, because she was to watch over him constantly, both during the day and at night. She is struggling to keep up with medical bills, selling food she prepares at home, but it’s not enough to cover all the expenses.

 

Weighing 90 kg at such a young age has already taken a heavy toll on Caden’s health. Doctors recently told Zola that the excess fat has already severely deteriorated several major organs, and there is nothing they can do for him. She isn’t giving up the fight, though.

“The doctors have told us that his major organs are taking more and more strain because of his weight,” Zola said. “I pray every day that Caden gets well so he can be normal like other children and do things that normal children do.”

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