By Josh Saunders
A teacher suffering a horrific condition has tennis ball sized growths forming from cuts on his skin.
Antony Perkins, 56, from Saint Louis in Missouri, USA, was nine-years-old when his first growth, known as a keloid, appeared suffering a fall.
The genetic condition causes fatty collagen tissue to develop from any scarring on his body.
Over the years, he’s developed numerous keloids over his stomach, back and torso, as well as on his face and neck caused by cutting himself while shaving.
Despite seven operations to remove some of the keloids, they have grown back larger – swelling to the size of tennis balls and weighing a whopping 5lb – the same as a bag of sugar.
In public people stare, point and make cruel comments, which initially led Tony into a depression that left him contemplating suicide.
But now, he’s fundraising for innovative surgery that will remove the growths and has a minimal 5-10% chance they will come back.
Antony, a youth development teacher, said: “I’ve had keloids for the past 15-years of my life, they cover my face, beard, behind my ears, torso, back and neck.
“They were discovered when I was nine-years-old after I was playing outside and fell on something with a jagged edge that injured my stomach.
“They started off small, anywhere I suffered a cut, but after I had surgery to try to remove them they have come back larger than ever.
“The biggest ones are on my face and neck and are around the size of a tennis ball, the ones on my chest and three on my back are probably the same size.
“I have a lot of pain from my keloids, they are constantly itching and uncomfortable because of their weight.
“The pain is an excruciating burning sensation, sometimes it’s so devastating that it buckles me and I have to lie down until it subsides.
“It has been very hard to deal with over the years, the ones on my head are so heavy they cause me to have neck pain but I don’t let it deter me from my passion of teaching.”
Over the years, Tony has found he is distracted from the pain thanks to teaching and the support his students show him gives him the confidence to carry on.
He added: “It’s pretty rough but the one thing is whenever I get to work, my students take my mind off the pain and it really helps.
“The first day I came into the classroom I explained what keloids were and then they would teach their friends.
“My students show a great deal of love and concern for me, they have been very supportive and helped me to gain a lot of confidence.
“I found that being able to talk about my keloids to them and others has given me more confidence, teaching turned out to be a blessing.”
When his keloids were at their largest size, Tony struggled to leave the house due to the unfair treatment and stigma around having a facial difference.
He added: “Whenever I went out in public people would stare and point at me, I would hear them whispering which was tough.
“They would never say anything to my face, but I would hear them laughing behind my back.
“I dealt with a serious bout of depression, there were times where I wouldn’t go to any family functions, all I did was go to work then hide away at home.”
Tony is hoping for multiple surgeries to remove the keloids all over his body, combined with a new technique that has a high percentage of preventing them from re-growing.
He’s hoping to raise the funds to cover his treatment as his insurance will not cover the costs due to it being considered as a ‘cosmetic surgery’.
Tony said: “My insurance won’t cover the procedure because the claim its cosmetic, which is so far from the truth.
“The pain I go through on a daily basis means that I’m constantly in pain and some nights I can’t sleep because of the keloids.
“Some of them are that heavy that it stops me from participating in things the way I would like to.
“Having the surgery will improve my life without question, it will allow me to live my life to the fullest.”
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