Girl, 15, looking like pensioner undergoes face-changing surgery


A 15-year-old girl who looks decades older due to a rare condition is set to have a 'face-changing' operation after kind strangers raised more than 200,000 yuan to cover her medical bills.

The teenager, known by a pseudonym Xiao Feng, says she has felt insecure and inferior to others all her life because of her wrinkly skin.

She says she has never dared to take one single selfie and does not have any friends.

'Nobody wants to play with me, and only pigeons are willing to accompany me because they won't dislike me or think I am ugly,' she said.

Xiao Feng was born to a farming family in Heishan county of Jinzhou city in north-eastern China's Liaoning Province.

Her father said that her skin started to become saggy all across her body when she was about one year old and the condition worsened as she grew older.

After she graduated from her middle school earlier this year, Xiao Feng chose to halt her education and coop up at home because she was scared of meeting new friends and classmates.

'I am 15 years old, but I have a face of a 60-year-old. How I long to look like a high school student,' a desperate Xiao Feng wrote as she sought help from Guo Mingyi, a local philanthropist.

Xiao Feng is described as a 'quiet' and 'gentle' girl, and she likes putting makeup on her face - but only when nobody is around.

'When she was in her primary school, she was often mistaken for 'the parents of pupils'; and whenever she went to the town with her mother, people would surround them, look at them and discuss about them,' her father Wang Hongde said. 

Philanthropist Guo Mingyi (right) arranges Xiao Feng to seek medical advice from Xinglin Plastic Surgery Clinic, which has agreed to give the girl a 70 per cent discount on the surgery

Medics has claimed that Xiao Feng suffers from progeria. The teen is now going through pre-surgical checks, and her operation has been scheduled to take place at the end of the month

Xiao Feng's mother has the same skin symptom, according to Xiao Feng's father.

Surgeons from Shenyang Xinglin Plastic Surgery Clinic claim that both Xiao Feng and her mother have progeria, a rare genetic condition that occurs in an estimated one in eight million live births and causes a person to age prematurely.

In Xiao Feng's case, the condition only appears to affect her skin, not her organs, a spokesperson from the clinic told MailOnline.

Xiao Feng hoped that philanthropist Guo could help her raise funds so her looks could be improved through cosmetic surgery.

'Uncle Guo, how do I wish to return to a normal life and not feel the need to avoid other people's attention or feel haunted by my classmates' whispers,' she wrote in a letter to Mr Guo.

Earlier this month, Mr Guo, who is also the deputy chairman of All-China Federation of Trade Unions, arranged Xiao Feng to seek medical attention from the Xinglin clinic.

The clinic agreed to give the teenager a 70 per cent discount for the surgery, which would have cost the impoverished family more than 500,000 yuan.

To help Xiao Feng cover the medical bills, Mr Guo organised a city-wide charity event for the girl on December 7.

He brought Xiao Feng and her family to the streets and companies in Shenyang to collect donations. The public handed out more than 40,000 yuan on the day.

On Sunday, more than 1,000 joggers in Shenyang took part in a charity marathon organised by Mr Guo to show their support and encouragement for the teenager.

Together, the runners rose more than 150,000 yuan.

Shi Lingzhi, director of Xinglin clinic said she and her staff were more than happy to help Xiao Feng because 'we are capable of doing so'.

The medical team said most progeria patients would see their skin as well as their organs ageing rapidly, but both Xiao Feng and her mother's symptom only showed in their skin which 'spells hope for the unfortunate family'.

Lead surgeon Shi said her team planned to rebuild the ligaments of Xiao Feng's face in a cutting-edge operation and the patient would be able to recover 15 days after the surgery.

Xiao Feng is now going through pre-surgical checks, and her operation has been scheduled to take place at the end of the month, according to the clinic.

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk

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