Tomasz Nadolski, from Olesnica in south-west Poland, suffers from a genetic condition known as Fabry disease, which affects the kidneys, heart and skin. It also causes a build-up of a type of fat that means the body can’t metabolise fatty molecules.
He said: ‘I am 25 years old and I would like to look like a man of my age. I hate this boy who I see every day in the mirror, because it is not me.’
When he was seven, Tomasz began vomiting after every meal and started suffering from pains in his stomach, hands and feet. He said: ‘Friends at school would say: “Skeletor, you’ve left Auschwitz!”‘ Doctors were unable to work out what was wrong with him and suspected his problems could be mental rather than physical, and recommended he eat more. He says the condition has made his relatives still treat him as a child, straining their relationship.
He said: ‘When I’m at home, I’m just sitting in my room and spending my time alone.
‘I feel lonely and I lack the support of my family and this is how it has been for many years. The disease has destroyed our family relationship.’ And he says that the illness also affects his everyday life as people refuse to accept his real age. ‘I often suffer sad situations. When I show the ID card in the office or if the police stop me, they accuse me of having a fake one,’ he said.