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The tree-man

Turning in to a tree must be a horrifying experience…

Dede is a 35 year old Indonesian fisherman who until recently thought he would be killed by the tree-like worts covering most of his body. It all started after he accidentally cut his knee as a teenager. Small warts started appearing on his hands and feet and, in time, they got so big and numerous that he lost use of his hands and couldn’t perform any household activity. His wife walked out on him and he had to take care of his children in terrible conditions. He was forced to join a local freak show, alongside people with different, peculiar diseases, just to put food on the table.

The local doctors could do nothing to help him and he was sure he was going to die from his condition, as the warts started to spread all over his body. Thankfully, a famous US dermatologist, from the University of Maryland, learned of his condition and thought he could help. He came to Indonesia, examined Dede, took blood samples and discovered that this terrible condition, that’s literally turning a man into a tree is caused by the common Human Papilloma Virus responsible for the small warts people get on their hands. Unfortunately for Dede he had a genetic fault that made his immune system helpless against the virus, it just couldn’t contain it, so it was free to grow inside his body. He came to the conclusion that a form of vitamin A could reduce the quantity of warts and hopefully help him regain control of his hands.

After a series of financial and political setbacks, Dede has started receiving treatment and is currently making progress.

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