News, Culture & Society

Man suffering from rare skin condition uses team support

A diehard rugby league fan has used his passion for his favourite team and the support from his favourite players to defy doctors and overcome his rare skin condition.

Dean Clifford suffers from Epidermolysis Bullosa which severely weakens his skin to the strength of tissue paper.

He was the Brisbane Broncos’ guest of honour at the 1992 Grand Final but was told he would not see Christmas that year. 15 years later at 37 years of age he is still the club’s biggest fan.

‘That was the first time I’d ever heard of Dean, and he wasn’t supposed to last till Christmas. Well he’s had lots of Christmases since, he’s still with us and he still fights the battle,’ legendary Broncos coach Wayne Bennett told Fox League.

 

Dean Clifford suffers from Epidermolysis Bullosa which severely weakens his skin to the strength of tissue paper

He was the Brisbane Broncos' guest of honour at the 1992 Grand Final but was told he would not see Christmas that year. 25 years later at 37 years of age he is still the club's biggest fan

He was the Brisbane Broncos’ guest of honour at the 1992 Grand Final but was told he would not see Christmas that year. 25 years later at 37 years of age he is still the club’s biggest fan

Dean was diagnosed with the rare condition as a child, with suffers commonly referred to as 'cotton wool babies' or 'butterfly children' because they rarely survive the disease

Dean was diagnosed with the rare condition as a child, with suffers commonly referred to as ‘cotton wool babies’ or ‘butterfly children’ because they rarely survive the disease

Dean was diagnosed with the rare condition as a child, with suffers commonly referred to as ‘cotton wool babies’ or ‘butterfly children’ because they rarely survive the disease.

He says he experienced difficulties making friends because people were ‘terrified’ of his appearance.

‘It was always pretty difficult but I always had the support of the club (Brisbane Broncos) to go back to and hang out with,’ he told Yvonne Sampson.

Dean struck a close friendship and support base in the form of his favourite team, particularly with Australia and Queensland star Brad Thorn.

‘It was awesome to have guys just call up to see how I was going and have a chat. When I would get to games they would be thrilled to see me and come over and hang out,’ he said.

‘People that I thought were amazing were looking up to me and wanting me to be a part of their life.’

‘It was awesome to have guys just call up to see how I was going and have a chat. When I would get to games they would be thrilled to see me and come over and hang out,’ Dean said

Dean says he experienced difficulties making friends because people were 'terrified' of his appearance

Dean says he experienced difficulties making friends because people were ‘terrified’ of his appearance

Dean struck a close friendship and support base in the form of his favourite team, particularly with Australia and Queensland star Brad Thorn (pictured)

Dean struck a close friendship and support base in the form of his favourite team, particularly with Australia and Queensland star Brad Thorn (pictured)

Thorn said Dean would always light up the room when he was around and helped him keep his own life in perspective.

‘He had a way of getting a smile out of me. It was a good impact on me as a young man because at that point you get a bit of money and hype and that sort of stuff, you can get a bit carried away,’ the dual-sport star said.

But to realise how fortunate I was health-wise and to see someone there fighting a really tough fight, it was quite inspirational.’

One day Dean was at Thorn’s house and the pair began competing against each other to see who was stronger. He has now taken to power lifting and has found solace in the contrast between the demanding hobby and the fragility of his skin.

He can now lift more than double his body weight. 

‘I came into the gym one day and he was bench pressing 120 kilograms, I thought to myself ‘how is he doing that?” Wayne Bennett said.

‘It’s unbelievable, he’s unbelievable.’

Dean says his training has given him the physical and mental confidence to not constantly think about his potentially fatal condition.

Dean has now taken to power lifting and has found solace in the contrast between the demanding hobby and the fragility of his skin (pictured with Broncos captain Darius Boyd)

Dean has now taken to power lifting and has found solace in the contrast between the demanding hobby and the fragility of his skin (pictured with Broncos captain Darius Boyd)

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Do you like it? Share with your friends!


Comments are closed.