Teen with an incredibly rare condition that affects only 13 people in the whole world is on a mission to spread awareness about the issue.
When Dylan Lombard was only 18-months-old, he developed his first symptoms MDP – Mandibular Hypoplasia, with Deafness and Progeroid Features. At the age of 10, he was diagnosed with the dire condition after “constant” doctor’s appointments.
MDP syndrome is a rare metabolic disorder that prevents fatty tissue from being stored underneath the skin. In other words, Dylan cannot gain weight no matter what he does.
Now aged 18, the teen from Glasgow, Scotland, is passionate about spreading awareness for his condition. Speaking to Daily Mail, he said:
“Growing up it has been really tough seeing people staring, laughing, and treating me differently, but I have learned to not let it affect me as I have gotten older.”
The MDP syndrome develops from an abnormality in the POLD1 gene that gives rise to a defective enzyme crucial to DNA replication.
The teen explained:
“I was born with this condition, but it did not become visible until I was 18 months old. My mother was seeing me drop a lot of weight and became understandably very worried.
It took doctor’s 10 years in order diagnose me with this condition after constant visits because of its obscurity. There are only 12 other people in the world who have MDP besides me, but when we got the diagnosis, we were just relieved because we finally knew what it was.”
Dylan’s rare condition has often been a subject of staring and mean comments regarding his appearance. However, he doesn’t let that negativity affect him. He noted:
“I surround myself with those who support me and love me for who I am which is the best feeling in the world.”
Dylan is now eager to educate the public about the MDP syndrome.
The Glasgow teen said:
“I think I am at a stage in my life where I just really want to help educate people about my condition. I love to tell my story, reach out and connect with people from all around the world. When I do, I honestly believe it makes me stronger and a more confident person.”
Although playing sports is not amongst his strengths, Dylan has found a way to express himself through photography.
“At 15, my mum bought me my first camera and I haven’t looked back since, photography is just the most incredible thing to me.”
The teen is also proud of his roots and loves “showing what [his] city has to offer.”
Speaking of his home country, the teen shared:
“The weather may not be the best, but I love living in Scotland. I am certainly Glaswegian and proud, and I love showing what my city has to offer. When I take a photo, it stays with me forever and that feeling is just indescribable.”
Giving advice to anyone who feels less than due to a medical condition or another insecurity, Dylan said:
“I am a lot more than just my condition, which is why I feel it is so important to share my story. Nobody should ever be afraid of who they are, and it is important to just keep doing what makes you happy.
Perseverance is key. Never give up.“