A Mississippi 15-year-old girl who weighs 380 pounds due to a rare condition that causes incessant hunger has been crowned a pageant queen.
Anna Hankins has Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare and incurable genetic disorder that leads to low muscle tone, short stature and chronic eating.
"She eats anything she can get," Anna’s mom, Jennifer Hankins, told SWNS "There isn't food she doesn't like. She would get in the garbage can or drink a bowl or milk we hadn't thrown out. She can’t control it."
The ninth grader was born prematurely and underweight, but as a toddler developed an insatiable appetite and was diagnosed with the condition at 2 years old. Through the years, her condition became so out of control that her parents had to lock the fridge.
Now doctors have the teen on a restrictive diet of 900 calories per day, but because her body does not break down food properly, she is unable lose weight.
She cannot have sweets or fatty foods because they cause her to rapidly gain weight, and in spite of the diet plan, she currently tips the scales at 380 pounds. As a result, she needs oxygen to help her breathe.
Although Hankins said kids often stare at Anna and even ask why she is "fat," it hasn’t decreased the teen’s confidence.
Anna loves being center stage and was recently crowned queen in a pageant celebrating women and girls with disabilities. She donned her crown from the Miss Amazing contest in Chicago, beaming with pride.
Anna first got involved in the pageant world in fourth grade and has since participated in three events, most recently in November, winning the state title each time.
"I love Miss Amazing," Anna said. "My favorite thing is singing and makeup and hair."
Hankins said she cries every time she sees Anna on stage.
"Taking part in Miss Amazing definitely helps with her self-esteem, and seeing the other girls that have special needs helps her know she is not the only one,” Hankins said. "It's a moment where we can forget about all her problems."
What is Prader-Willi Syndrome?
PWS is a complex genetic disorder affecting appetite, growth, metabolism, cognitive function and behavior. It is typically characterized by low muscle tone, short stature, cognitive disabilities, behavioral problems, and the hallmark characteristics: Chronic feelings of insatiable hunger and a slowed metabolism that can lead to excessive hunger.