One of my major characters is between the ages of 10-13. She is supposed to be terminally ill and she's supposed to die at some point during the story (while still within that age range). The problem is, I'm struggling to find a terminal illness that would afflict someone this young that meet my necessary conditions:
- It must begin having an effect on her from a very young age. (Preferably by 9, or with at least 2 years before it kills her, meaning 12 at the latest.)
- Is terminal and can kill her by her early teens (14 years old at the latest) even with access to the best medical resources. Not that people can't live beyond that age, but that medical resources can't guarantee a prolonged life. (Clarification: It should be common enough for people to start dying from it by 14, even if it isn't guaranteed. If it can reasonably kill her by around 10, that'd be better, but I get if that's not a thing.)
- It is NOT cancer.
- Would leave her in the hospital frequently and for prolonged (business week-length minimum) stays.
- Is NOT a dominant-allele genetic disorder. (If genetic, it needs to be recessive or not guaranteed to affect a person who has it. She has multiple older sisters who should be healthy is why.)
- Does not result in any visible outward deformities.
- I'd like for her to at least be able to walk and run on her own to some degree, but this isn't inherently a necessity. That said, she can be limited by her malady. Otherwise, the more bedridden she is, the better to help nail in the point that she is sick even if she tries not to show it.
While I could just default and use cancer, I have personal reasons why I can't do that. While I could go with a generic nameless cough, (especially since I don't plan on name-dropping the disease,) I'd rather use something specific to base my character's actions and interactions around.
The affliction can be as common or as rare as necessary. It just needs to be something that fits the desired criteria as well as possible. The best answer will fit all of the criteria. A good answer will fit most criteria. Even if I don't select your answer as the best answer, it's only because it wasn't the best for me, but it may be the best answer for somebody with slightly looser or slightly different criteria.
My question is: What diseases are terminal that can affect/kill girls of this age range and start having an effect earlier on in their lives without being guaranteed that their sisters will have it too?
World background: Real world (Japan), modern day, without magic, without sci-fi tech.
If there are other things I need to list for this to be on-topic, please let me know and I will edit to reflect that.
Before anybody criticizes the location, I have my reasons.
Modeled after similar, but different questions:
- What is an illness that would prevent someone from eating for several days?
- I need a poison that in low dose will paralyze temporarily, in high dose will kill
- Any poisons that mimic Syphilis?
- Does anyone know of a poison that can be ingested and is undetectable in autopsy?
I include this because people have V2C'd this because "this question does not appear to be about worldbuilding as defined in the help center." I get that and that's why I asked that if this wasn't on-topic, to let me know what I need to include so that it is. There is a strong precedence for "Worldbuilding our real world" questions, though, with these being the questions that most closely resemble my own. There are many, many others that don't resemble my question, but are the same concept of "What in our world does this?" without stooping to disingenuous posturing. A lot of people forget that our world is so wide and varied that itself seems like fiction more often than not. Just because it exists in the real world, that doesn't mean that it doesn't need built up for people who don't know or understand. If you have a complaint with a question and feel like it should be V2C'd, please share why so the author can have an opportunity to fix whatever you feel may be broken.
In regards to the best answer:
Selecting the best answer was a challenge for this question as many answers were good or even great. If you're looking at this question because you are looking for something similar for your work, you will find quite a few good answers that may fit your needs better than the selected answer fit my listed criteria. When I got to the point where I was searching for the best answer, I was doing in depth research on a few of these conditions because that was what was needed of me. Ultimately, it boiled down to a virtual tie between Juvenile Tay–Sachs disease and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Both fit my listed requirements to a tee and I needed to decide which fit my setting better in order to make the choice. Retts was a close third and Congenital Heart Defects right behind that. With 16 active answers at the time of my selecting the best answer, not all of them could be the best, but most of them were good. This was by no means an easy decision to make, but I wanted to say thank you everyone for answering, and I hope this helps others as much as it helped me!