It might sound like a superpower — but it’s actually a debilitating disease.
A UK teenager is shedding light on his super-rare affliction — which affects only 13 people worldwide — that prevents him from retaining fat, among other horrific complications. However, despite being unable to put on pounds, the brave boy is not losing hope.
“I am a lot more than just my condition, which is why I feel it is so important to share my story,” Dylan Lombard, 18, told Caters of his courageous battle.
The Glasgow, Scotland, native suffers from Mandibular hypoplasia-deafness-progeroid syndrome, or MDP syndrome, a premature aging disease that prevents fatty tissue from being stored subcutaneously. It results in an undersized lower jaw, deafness and “beaked nose,” per the Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.
Since it affects only 1 in 600 million people, Lombard is just one of 13 recorded MDP patients on the planet.
Despite being born with the genetic condition, the unfortunate lad’s symptoms didn’t “become visible until I was 18 months old,” he said.
“My mum was seeing me drop a lot of weight and became understandably very worried,” Lombard explained.
Nonetheless, due to MDP’s obscurity, it took a mind-boggling 10 years and constant doctor visits before physicians were able to officially diagnose him, Caters reported.
“There [are] only 12 other people in the world who have MDP besides me,” said Lombard, “but when we got the diagnosis, we were just relieved because we finally knew what it was.”
Not surprisingly, growing up with the rapid-aging ailment hasn’t been easy for Lombard, who’s had to endure constant stares and cruel comments.
However, the plucky youngster says he’s “learned to not let it affect me as I have gotten older.”
“I surround myself with those who support me and love me for who I am,” said Lombard.
And while his fragile figure prevents him from playing contact sports, he enjoys taking photographs — a passion that was instilled when he was 11.
“I was out walking on a rainy day and took a few pictures on my phone to show my parents, which they were really amazed by,” explained Lombard. “They encouraged me to take more, and I have been snapping ever since.”
He continued: “At 15, my mum bought me my first camera, and I haven’t looked back.”
The proud Glaswegian frequently draws inspiration from his hometown, capturing its essence through his own unique perception.
The teen says ultimately he wants to use his story to spread awareness about MDP.
“I think I am at a stage in my life where I just really want to help educate people about my condition,” said the courageous Lombard. “I love to tell my story, reach out and connect with people from all around the world.”
“When I do, I honestly believe it makes me stronger and a more confident person,” he added.
Lombard hopes that he can inspire others to live life to the fullest.
“Nobody should ever be afraid of who they are, and it is important to just keep doing what makes you happy,” he said. “Perseverance is key — never give up.”
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