This teenage girl has the wrinkled and sagging face of a 60-year-old because of an extremely rare condition called progeria which causes her appearance to rapidly age.
The 15-year-old named only as ‘Xiao Feng’ says stigma caused by the unstoppable genetic disorder has led her to quit school and permanently stay home with her farmer parents.
The teenager from the county of Heishan in China’s north-eastern Liaoning Province has Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome, which manifests in symptoms resembling ageing at an early age.
Xiao Feng said she had the face of a “middle-aged woman” when she was just one year old, and her wrinkles as well as her sagging cheeks and eyes now make her look like a grandmother of over 60.
She said: “I looked so different from my classmates that I stopped going to school, and stopped going out.
“I didn’t have many friends at school anyway. Whenever I sat among them, I looked more like their grandmother.
“People address me as ‘auntie’ on the street and my classmates call me a freak
“When I was younger, I had no concept of beauty or ugliness. Even though I had an ageing face, I was pure and bright.
“But as I grew older, I started caring more and more about how other people looked at me. I never take photo, and I stopped smiling.”
The girl’s father, whose has not been named, said her mother suffered from progeria too.
He said: “We didn’t take her to get tested. Her mother had the same condition too. We knew our child had inherited it.
“We’re not educated, so we didn’t understand anything about genetic disorders.
“And after she was born, it was already too late to regret it.”
Xiao Feng’s case has now reached every corner of the country since she wrote to Chinese philanthropist Guo Mingyi.
The 61-year-old’s charity work in some of the most impoverished parts of the country has been lauded by the Chinese Communist Party.
Mr Guo announced that he would be fundraising Xiao Feng’s treatment and has already consulted experts in Shenyang, Liaoning’s provincial capital.
Xiao Feng will need to undergo a series of plastic surgeon operations and follow-up procedures to remodel her face.
Treatment is expected to cost upwards of 500,000 RMB (55,000 GBP).
In Xiao Feng’s letter to Mr Guo, she wrote: “I want to live a normal life.
“I want to walk on the street without avoiding other people’s eye contact.
“I want to go back to school and never heard my classmates speaking about me behind my back.
“I want to study to become a doctor.
“I often day of that day.”
Mr Guo’s non-profit is currently receiving donations via QR code on social media platform WeChat.
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