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“I’d give anything for her to feel pain”

November 2nd, 2004 · 1 Comment

Brian Chin at the Seattle P-I Buzzworthy blog linked to the story of a 5-year-old girl who has a rare genetic disorder.

Girl with rare disease doesn’t know pain:

In the school cafeteria, teachers put ice in 5-year-old Ashlyn’s chili. If her lunch is scalding hot, she’ll gulp it down anyway.

On the playground, a teacher’s aide watches Ashlyn from within 15 feet, keeping her off the jungle gym and giving chase when she runs. If she takes a hard fall, Ashlyn won’t cry.

Ashlyn is among a tiny number of people in the world known to have congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, or CIPA – a rare genetic disorder that makes her unable to feel pain.

“Some people would say that’s a good thing. But no, it’s not,” says Tara Blocker, Ashlyn’s mother. “Pain’s there for a reason. It lets your body know something’s wrong and it needs to be fixed. I’d give anything for her to feel pain.”


Many things they couldn’t anticipate. Ashlyn’s baby teeth posed big problems. She would chew her lips bloody in her sleep, bite through her tongue while eating, and once even stuck a finger in her mouth and stripped flesh from it.

Family photos reveal a series of these self-inflicted injuries. One picture shows Ashlyn in her Christmas dress, hair neatly coifed, with a swollen lip, missing teeth, puffy eye and athletic tape wrapped around her hands to protect them. She smiles like a little boxer who won a prize bout.

Reading this piece, I feel sad for the girl and her family, for what they have suffered. It’s hard enough for me to take my daughter to the hospital. But I also begin to see a bit more of the purpose of pain. Imagine life without it.

Tags: news

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // Nov 2, 2004 at 7:49 am

    Wow. Really makes me thankful for the way God set things up. He really knows what He’s doing, and how to run things. Pain is very purposeful for checks and balances…