Mehendi Hassan was born a healthy boy in Bangladesh but he soon began developing rashes on his skin.
His dad thought they were from mosquito bites but they quickly turned into something much more terrifying.
The eight-year-old started to develop very thick and itchy skin all over his body. He couldn’t play with his toys, eat with his hands or even walk without suffering excruciating pain.
He became a social recluse because other kids were being mean and even beating him up.
As if growing up wasn’t hard enough.
Mehendi’s dad was worried his son’s education was falling apart: “I requested his teachers to please pay attention to him and see no one beats him up but the teachers said they were unable to discipline other kids and that his presence was affecting studies of other children.”
His mum Jahanara Begum said, “He has been home for eight years because whenever he goes out, villagers get scared and say bad things to him.
“Everyone hates him, no one likes to see him or eat in front of him. Not even my mother-in-law. I beg the government to help my child.
Her calls to the government fell on deaf ears but a charity has stepped forward to help.The Help to Save Lives group brought the youngster to hospital and, through its resources, got a diagnosis for Mehendi.
They discovered he had been suffering from a rare skin condition called epidermolytic hyperkeratosis. It affects roughly 200-300,000 people worldwide and currently has no cure. It causes keratin filaments in the skin which can result in severe blisters.
After getting the diagnosis doctors put Mehendi on a course of vitamins and a regular application of moisturiser.
His mum says he’s now showing a big improvement and could soon re-join his classmates.
“It has been possible because of people’s support. They are paying for his treatment. It feels wonderful to see him without those rashes and blisters,” she said.
Many described Mehendi’s condition as turning his skin into stone – much like the Marvel character The Thing from Fantastic Four.
But there is a very rare condition out there which could be much worse than that.
Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva – otherwise known as Stone Man Syndrome – is a progressive genetic disorder which turns soft tissue into bone. This can cause joints in the body to fuse together and harden and it looks terrifying and painful.
Stone Man Syndrome. Credit: Reddit
Another scary condition called epidermodysplasia verruciformis makes people look like they’re growing bark on their body.
Also known as Tree Man Syndrome, it is a rare gene mutation that causes warts, and can be exacerbated by sunlight.
Or take Bayezid Hossain, who suffers from progeria which makes him ages eight times faster than normal. The condition also causes him difficulties urinating, and gives him a swollen face, sagging skin, hollow eyes, aching joints, as well as weak teeth
Unfortunately, children the same age as Bayezid are afraid of him because of the rare condition, which means he can’t go to school. People in the community usually avoid him, despite the fact that after word spread about his birth, people queued up outside his house to see him.
Typically, those who suffer from progeria have a short life span, usually dying from heart attacks or strokes at an average age of 13.
Bayezid has been labeled the ‘Old Man’ by locals, but is slowly being accepted.
According to his mother, he understands the implications of his condition but cries whenever it is spoken about.
His dad, Lovelu, has accepted that there may not be a cure for Bayezid, but also believes that, as his family are poor, his son isn’t getting the best chance of survival.
Featured Image Credit: Caters