Life

By Josh Saunders


Meet the woman with an extreme sensitivity to sunlight that means being out in the sun could KILL HER.

Fatima Ghazaoui, 25, from Mohammedia in Morocco, was born with xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) that causes her skin to blister in sunlight and causes deadly cancerous tumours.

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She was diagnosed at two-years-old, after mysterious white patches appeared on her skin that would later develop into countless dark freckles all over her body.

To protect herself from the sun, Fatima covers herself with a specialist suit and creams that prevents UV ray damage to her skin.

She says that because of her unusual attire, people shun her fearing that she has a contagious disease and comment that she looks like an ‘astronaut’.

Due to her skin’s extreme sensitivity she is more likely to develop skin cancer and has up to 12 surgically removed every month.

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Fatima, who writes magazine recipes, said: “I have black spots on my skin which get darker and grow faster if I am exposed to the sun, as well as spreading all over my body.

“If I want to go outside, I have to take a lot of precautions, I have to wear a special suit that stop UV rays affecting my skin.

“I have to wear gloves, a mask, specialist sunglasses as well as using day and night cream.

“Because of the precautions I have to take, everybody looks at me in differently.

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“They are shocked and often scared because of how I look and think my condition is contagious, the look in their eyes is like I’m contaminated, nobody will come near me.

“I have between eight and 12 tumours removed every month, if I didn’t have the surgeries I could get cancer or other issues that may lead to death.

“At times I struggle to deal with my situation because I have to go through so many surgeries to stay alive but I’ve never lost hope.

“I have a lot of friends and a very supporting family, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be alive today.”

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Fatima’s family first noticed a difference in her skin at the age of two, when white freckles appeared all over her body.

Doctors were initially baffled, before diagnosing her with XP – a condition affecting only 2,000 people worldwide.

Fatima said: “The doctor was surprised about my skin and said that he had never seen symptoms like mine before.

“After that I was taken to a lot of other specialists to see if any of them could help, but we found out it has no cure.”

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Since then, she’s had to adapt her life around avoiding the sun, from wearing protective layers to even having the windows of her home adapted to prevent UV rays going through.

To avoid developing cancer she has up to 12 moles removed each month that costs over $400 because she does not have health insurance.

Fatima said: “Something which is very horrible, is that in Morocco we don’t have a medical insurance and medical care for this sickness.

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“It’s not covered at all, so we have to find the money for my treatment, if my family was not there I will never think I would still exist.

“I can’t even afford a mask that fully protects my skin, I have to use one that only stops 50% of the ultraviolet rays.”

Despite this, Fatima is positive and actively shares her experiences on social media in the hope of raising more awareness of the condition.

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She added: “My life is full of love and happiness thanks to being around a lot of loving and carrying people.

“I am so proud to have a lot of friends since becoming active on social media, I use my account to help support the others with the same condition as me and to give them hope.”

To donate to her treatment visit here.