An 18-year-old who has a condition shared by just 12 other people has tragically told how people stare at him, laugh and “treat me differently” because of it.
Dyland Lombard, from Glasgow, Scotland has an extremely rare condition known as Mandibular Hypoplasia with Deafness and Progeroid Features (MDP).
This means his body is unable to store fat. It affects just one in six-hundred-million people around the world.
MDP prevents fatty tissue from being stored underneath the skin, and results in a small lower jaw, ears, deafness and tightening of the skin.
Dylan said: “My mum was seeing me drop a lot of weight and became understandably very worried.
“It took doctors 10 years in order diagnose me with this condition after constant visits because of its obscurity.
“There are only 12 other people in the world who have MDP besides me, but when we got the diagnosis, we were just relieved because we finally knew what it was.
“Growing up it has been really tough seeing people staring, laughing and treating me differently, but I have 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 which is the best feeling in the world.”
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The condition was first diagnosed by researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School and Molecular Genetics Department at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
British para-cyclist Tom Staniford is also thought to have the condition.
But rather than let the condition defeater him, the youngster is now focused on spreading awareness about the condition, specifically his passion for photography.
Due to MDP, he is unable to part in physical activities, such as sports, which is where his love for the camera comes in.
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He said: “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.
“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. They encouraged me to take more, and I have been snapping ever since.
“At 15, my mum bought me my first camera and I haven't looked back since, photography is just the most incredible thing to me.
“I am a lot more than just my condition, which is why I feel it is so important to share my story."
“Nobody should ever be afraid of who they are, and it is important to just keep doing what makes you happy. Perseverance is key, never give up.”
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