Constantly hungry boy succumbs to rare condition

A morbidly obese Mpumalanga boy whose rare condition kept him constantly hungry died at the Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria on Thursday.

Caden Benjamin, 11, dreamed of having a normal childhood and playing with friends who overlooked his medical condition, and of one day driving a fast car.

However, he spent the last year hooked to an oxygen tank and on medication. He had to visit a physiotherapist regularly just to help him breath.

Caden suffered from Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder caused by a missing chromosome. One of the symptoms is constant hunger, as his brain was not able to register that he was full after eating.

At age 10, the boy weighed 90kg. Obesity led to him having a major respiratory condition, an enlarged heart, diabetes, depression, cellulitis and a weak body due to inactivity. He wasn’t able to attend school.

Gila Sacks, who met Caden’s mother Zola Benjamin via Facebook, last year started a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to raise funds for his care.

At the time, Zola had left her job to take care of her son. She did not have funds for Caden’s medication or his three hospital visits every month.

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