This is Zara Hartshorn. How old would you say this woman is? Thirty? Forty? Maybe even fifty? That’s Zara’s problem, she suffers from a rare skin disorder called Lypodystrophy. Symptoms of this disorder include the accelerated deterioration of the fatty tissue beneath the skin and the skin itself growing in excess. This gives the sufferer the appearance of being much older than they actually are. So, now that you’re armed with that knowledge, I’ll ask you again: How old would you say this thirteen year old girl looks?

That’s right folks, at the age when most little girls are looking forward to first proper dates, holding hands with boys and their first kiss (I’m trying to assume we’re still in the 1940s and that most thirteen year old girls aren’t getting pregnant by guys with cars) Zara has no current hopes for these types of things. Instead she has to put up with her schoolmates calling her “monkey”, “hag”, “granny” and “old bag”. Where most girls her age get to go to friends’ houses and talk about pop stars or try make-up, the children Zara goes to school with have long been warned by their understanding parents to stay away from the girl so they “don’t catch it”. Where most girls go shopping (shoplifting these days) and are stared at by guys for their increasingly short skirts, Zara is stared at by adults because of her wrinkled face. Everyone treats this poor girl like crap as if it’s her fault she has this condition and, if she tries to speak up, she has a beating waiting for her at school.

Zara knows she’s not alone though. Her mother Tracy and all her siblings suffer from the same hereditary condition. While Tracy managed to get a facelift when she was thirteen, the symptoms soon resurfaced and then she had scars from the surgery to deal with too. Fortunately medical techniques have been improved since then and Zara could lead a relatively normal life with similar surgery, but Tracy can’t afford the surgery on her single income and the national health service wont cover it. Let me put that into perspective for you. The free health service in this country has absolutely no problem using the money I pay them in taxes to give a woman breast implants because she says her current size depresses her (I know of two people in this town alone that this has happened with) or to get rid of excess skin folds from people who’ve dieted irresponsibly. Yet, when it comes to a girl with an incurable condition that is causing her to be bullied constantly on top of all the vast array of emotions that thirteen year olds have to deal with (emotions that have caused suicides in the past), they can’t help.


20 thoughts on “Lypodystrophy

  1. Oh my… It's not good to tease people who have bad medical conditions and stuff. I went to school for years and we have never done that.Okay.. maybe I made someone cry because I teased some guy who always have green gunky goo stuck at his nose 24/7 for two years. I was surprised when he cried and I cried as well and later on I told him I was sorry.I can't believe that most people are sooo heartless and don't have any sympathy or try to be understanding.

  2. I can't help but feeling sorry for someone who could be looking like that in her 50th after spending most of the life being nice looking woman. Unfortunately, it seems it will not be her destiny. I have seen people suffering of probably something similar to that but not before their 30th.

  3. This makes me mad that the parents, kids and school officials are not being understanding. :mad:I don't understand the reason either why the health services don't help. That's sad.

  4. If they give her surgery it wont last and she'll be back to this state in a year or two. Because of this they don't count it as a wise investment. :furious: Can you believe we live in a world where a child's psychological well being is considered an investment and measured that way.

  5. The parents are warning their kids to stay away in case they 'catch it' …As if everything else wasn't bad enough about the story, people who are supposed to be old enough to know better are acting like complete fuckwits. Instead of instilling values in their kids like understanding and tolerance and taking people by their actions instead of their looks, they're … well … they're being fuckwits.

  6. But, your honour! She didn't look thirteen! :zip: Seriously, it's a shame that child has to endure that, on top of, as Mik says, all the other changes – hormonal and physical going on. What a shame. 😦

  7. "When you're a parent, you'll understand. You've got to take care of your kids, protect them from the dangers they're too young to notice."I've heard that more than once in my life. Parents think that dropping a sprog gives them a special insight that people without children don't have, but they don't realise they're just passing on their own bigotries to their children, teaching them to hate anyone different.

  8. But … people don't have to listen to my advice because I'm a parent (I'm not); they have to listen to my advice because I'm a know-it-all! 😉

  9. Bah, those people who say the childless don't understand are usually the ones who can't keep their kids behaved. And us non-parents have surprisingly no problem looking after their "problem" children.

  10. We discussed something similar at work just yesterday.My colleague's friend got cancer in the face a while ago. The doctors had to cut away half her nose, and she needed pretty extensive surgery on her face – and she needed new skin.Afterwards, the doctors thought she looked ok, and that they wouldn't operate any more. According to my colleague, the poor girl looked far from ok, was very depressed and had to really argue to get them to fix her face so that she would look more human again.And at the same time, people are getting rid of their stretchmarks after having given birth, lipsuction and tummy tucks – all for free because the love handles depresses them…

  11. I know what you mean – I know two people who've had breast enlargements for free because they were "so depressed with their flat chests", and still those who have severe disfigurements just get told to deal with it. It's disgusting!

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