By Taniya Dutta
A Bangladeshi man has never walked in four decades because of a mystery condition that has caused his right leg to fold into an enormous ‘sausage roll’ weighing six stones.
Haroon Patwari, 53, has his whole body riddled with tiny tumours, one of which has outgrown on his right thigh.
The growth is so massive that the frail man cannot even lift his leg and depends on his wife and two children for support.
“I drag my feet to walk. The leg feels too heavy to even lift it up.
“If I am sitting I need help of someone to stand,” said Haroon.
Haroon was barely nine years old when the first bout of tumours appeared on his body. His illiterate, poverty-stricken parents relied on quacks for treatment but the growth did not stop.
He said: “I had these boils on my body and was given some local medicines. However, instead of them healing, the tumours started spreading at a rapid pace.”
By the time Haroon turned 30, his right leg was engulfed by the massive tumour.
His wife Jaytun Nisa, 49, said: “I have seen him suffering for 33 years. He is in immense pain. It is heartbreaking to see him living like this.
“He can do nothing on his own and needs support to stand because the leg is very heavy.”
Haroon’s mysterious condition has made him a laughingstock among children in the village. But luckily, the adults have come in his support and offer help to run his family.
He says: “Children are sacred of me so I do not go out much but their parents have been kind to us. For decades, they have been contributing food or money to run our family.”
The frail man, whose days are spent restricted inside his tiny shanty in Narayanpur in Chandpur district, however, wishes to work on his own.
He says: “I am frustrated of living as a recluse. I want to go out and meet people.
“I wish to get rid of this tumour. It has made me an idle man.
“I want to set up my own business and earn enough to feed my family.
“My son Masud has just started working as a labour at a store but the money is not enough to feed four stomach. He gets only 2000 Taka.”
Haroon’s case has been taken up by Mamun Biswas, the social activist on a mission to raise awareness and funds for such patients using social media.
“This man not only wants to get treatment but he is also keen on starting working again. This sort of energy is commendable. We are doing every bit to help him and our in touch with the health department.
“It is always nice if people come forward to help such patients get treatment. I wish we could arrange enough funds to not only get him treatment but also gift him a small shop.”