A teenager dubbed the ‘human snake’ because her skin shed every six weeks has been cured by European doctors with the help of British fundraisers.
Shalini Yadav, 16, from India, suffered from rare skin condition lamellar ichthyosis which causes the skin to grow too fast, dry out, and shed.
Her case was so severe that she was forced to bathe every hour and smear herself with moisturiser every three hours to try and relieve the symptoms.
She was even thrown out of school because the other children were frightened of her, and her family could not afford to get proper treatment.
Shalini Yadav suffers from lamellar ichthyosis which causes skin to grow too fast, dry out, and shed. But she can now live a normal life after being treated by doctors in Spain (before treatment left, and after, right)
The 16-year-old, from central India, had to bathe every hour and smear herself with moisturiser every three hours in order to relieve her symptoms
Medics in Spain agreed to help Shalini for free, with help from British fundraisers who helped pay for her travel to a clinic in Marbella
Her skin eventually became so tight she was unable to walk without a stick or properly straighten her limbs.
After doctors in Spain heard about her plight they agreed to treat Shalini for free – with the help of fundraisers from London.
Thanks to medicine which slows down the growth of her cells, her skin stopped shedding scales in just 10 days.
The delighted teenager from Nowgong town in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has now returned to India and will be supported by the medics for life.
Speaking from Spain, she said: ‘I can’t wait to go back home and show my new face to the people there. Now, I want all those people to come and stare at me.
‘Now, I am confident enough to stare back at those who stared at me and made hurtful comments. I am feeling very happy.
Shalini’s family say she was shunned and stared at before her treatment, and her skin was so tight she was unable to walk without a stick or straighten her limbs properly
She was taken to Spain where doctors started her on a course of medication that stopped her skin from shedding within 10 days
In the next two months medics believe her symptoms will disappear altogether and she will be able to live a normal life thereafter
‘Look at the face – it is all clear now. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. It feels great. I haven’t got a new skin, I have got a new life.’
Shalini explained how people and doctors were afraid to go near her, because they wrongly believed she was suffering from a contagious disease.
The constant stares and questions from strangers wrecked her confidence, and meant she stayed at home most of the time, she added.
A team of 19 specialist doctors from the International Medical Academy in Malaga welcomed her to Hospital Banus in Marbella on September 10 where she was given treatment worth £45,000.
Dermatologist Enrique Herrera said: ‘As you can see, we had a very positive response in just ten days of medication.
Shalini said her new skin has given her a ‘new life’ and she now looks forward to returning to school, after she was thrown out because the other children were afraid of her
After her experience in Spain, Shalini hopes to study to become a doctor herself one day in order to help other people
‘I expect in the next two months she will be completely normal.’
Shalini got help after India-based press agency Newslions, run by Sanjay Pandey, highlighted her plight, and helped pay for additional expenses.
Shalini’s two siblings Sejal, 15, and Price, eight, are normal with no such complication.
Her father Rajbahadur, a daily wage worker, said: ‘Back in India nobody would touch my daughter but here people embraced her wholeheartedly.
‘It was really overwhelming to see how much love and compassion Spanish people had for a poor Indian girl with no means.
‘People were hugging her, kissing her and showering her with gifts.’
Shalini flew back to India on Wednesday and is now looking forward to returning to school. She hopes to become a doctor one day.