16 year-old Indian boy, Mithun Chauhan, has his entire face and body covered in large swollen lumps, which Indian doctors have identified as neurofribroma, noting that there is no cure for the severest form of the disorder.
Like most 16-year-old boys, Mithun Chauhan’s mind is occupied by three things: Going to school, playing with his friends and meeting girls. But after a rare genetic condition left his body covered in large swollen lumps, he has convinced himself that he is destined to go through life alone.
According to reports, Mithun spends every waking hour of his life inside their home in Navada, Bihar of India, because his swollen face frightens locals, who have branded him ‘Ghost Boy’.
‘Why have the gods condemned me to a life like this?’ says the teenager, through the inflamed lumps around his mouth. ‘It is because of the way I look that my friends have abandoned me. Now nobody wants to play with me, it because of my looks that I cannot go to school or simply take a stroll in the neighbourhood.’
Mithun’s family claims the sores spread across his body after a doctor in Bihar state gave him the wrong medicine to treat a painful mole when he was five. The swelling around his face then grew so severe that he struggles to eat, see or breathe.
‘After taking the medicine, my child’s face started swelling. His entire body turned red like copper,’ said Mithun’s father, Ramji Chauhan, who makes around £3 a day as a labourer.
Ramji and his worried neighbours feared the gods had ‘cursed’ the boy, so they prayed every day and performed every ritual they could think of to cure him. It was not until recently when they took him to medical expert Dr Ashwini Dash, that he was diagnosed with neurofibroma, a very rare genetic disorder that causes tumours to grow along your nerves.
However, medical expert have said that Mithun could be treated to help him manage to see and eat. According to the doctors, the operation, would be done in phases and would cost at least Rs 300,000 rupees (£3,500). The Doctors have also told Mithun’s dad to take him to more advanced facilities in Delhi or Mumbai but Ramji says he barely earns enough to feed his family.
Mithun’s parents are desperate for him to get an education but until his condition is treated no schools will accept him as a student for fear he ‘would scare away the normal kids’.
According to reports, Mithun was admitted to a local primary school aged eight but on his first day, the children were revolted by the sight of him.
‘They called me a ghost and started running for their life as if they had a seen a real one,’ said Mithun.
And unlike his childhood friends, Mithun said he cannot even bear to look at his own reflection or go out in public.
‘I am really scared of the image that I see in them… I usually stay at home during the day to avoid people. If women and children see my face, they freak out and run away saying, “Ghost! Ghost! My parents have forbidden me to go out at night as people tend to get more scared of seeing my face at night.