By Bilal Kuchay
A young woman has revealed that she has NEVER worn a pair of shoes – due to a rare condition that has ballooned her feet to the size of two footballs.
Tawheeda Jan, 21, from Soi-Pathri, a remote village in Kashmir, India suffers from elephantiasis – a parasitic infection that has caused her feet to grow abnormally.
Each of her foot measures 11 inches long and seven inches wide.
Because of the giant size of her feet and massive weight, Tawheeda is forced to walk barefoot – even though the village she lives in is regularaly covered with 10 feet of snow in the winter.
After years of unsuccessful treatment, Tawheeda says her only goal in life is to be able to wear shoes like her friends.
Tawheeda says: “All my life I have been deprived of the joy of wearing shoes. Whether it is winter or summers, I have only walked barefoot. My feet are too large to fit in any slipper or sandals.”
Born with swollen feet, Tawheeda’s father said her feet had grown bigger than that of an adult within few years of her birth.
Since they were unable to find the right size of shoes or sandals for her in the market, Tawheeda was forced to walk barefoot.
Her father, Hamid Wagay who works as a farmer, said: “Unlike my other five children, Tawheeda was born with swollen feet. Her abnormality became a curse for her as she was not able to wear shoes or sandals like other children.
“She had to walk barefoot even in the minus temperatures. During summers she could walk and roam around easily but in winters, her feet would develop cracks forcing her to stay indoors.”
After years of struggle, she finally underwent an operation at the age of 14.
Her toes were cut-off with an aim it would stop her feet from growing much bigger.
Hamid said: “Her toes were cut off during the operation which stopped her feet from growing but her legs started ballooning. The operation developed a more serious concern for her as she would hardly walk now.”
Because of the unusual condition, Tawheeda faced a lot of trouble dealing with her peers in school. From name calling to making fun of her ‘big feet’, she was subjected to regular humiliation forcing her to quit studies.