This is Ripon Sarker. When he was only three-months-old, he began to show signs of an extremely rare skin disorder known as “tree man illness.” Unfortunately, his family has always been much too poor to go to a doctor. Now, at seven-years-old, Ripon has become immobilized by the massive, debilitating growths on his hands and feet.
Ripon lives in Thakurgaon, Bangladesh. Life there is hard, and while some of their neighbors are even worse off, Ripon’s family often lacks basic resources like nutritious food and clean drinking water, which may have led to the rapid growth of his horrifying wart-like growths.
As Ripon’s condition worsened over the years, his family knew they needed to get him help … but because they couldn’t afford it, they kept him hidden at home and did everything they could to make him comfortable. But then it became too much.