Indian siblings Anjali, 13, and Keshav, 6, were born with a rare disease called cutis laxa, a form of progeria that causes their skin to lose elasticity, which makes them look much older than their parents. The condition appears due to the fact that the elastic and collagen fibers of the skin are transformed, causing the connective tissues of the skin to weaken. This phenomenon may not only affect the skin but can also, albeit rarely, occur in the connective tissue of internal organs.
Anjali was only one month old when she was diagnosed with the disease. Her parents noticed that the little girl, who had just recovered from pneumonia, had unusually dry skin, and they sought medical attention. The couple later had another child and unfortunately Anjali’s younger brother also developed the symptoms.
“Taking care of one child with this condition was already difficult but having two kids with the same condition felt even worse. But it is God given and we’re trying our best,” said the children’s father Shatrughan. “I’m lucky to have these children, even with their rare disease. It doesn’t bother me or make me sad. I’ll do whatever I can to support them,” he added.
Fortunately, the children’s lives are not greatly affected by their condition, but the parents are still doing their best to learn as much as they can about the disease and hope that a cure will be found soon. Anjali and Keshav have regular medical check-ups and for the time being they seem to be living a relatively normal life.
“Proper cooperation between the family, society and doctors will ensure these special kids live their best possible lives,” said the children’s doctor, Dr Kumar.
Anjali and Keshav are inseparable and support each other in everything, which is a great help, for example, when people stare at them on the street, which happen relatively often.
“They both love each other very much. They fight too but cannot live without each other. They follow each other wherever they go. My children’s happiness is my happiness. I feel proud to see my children helping each other,” says the father of the brothers.
Anjali and Keshav’s sister, Shilpi, does not suffer from the disease and she also tries to help them in all her ways. “Whatever their condition may be, they’re my siblings. When I was younger, I did feel a bit weird. But it’s not a bad thing, nor is it their fault they have this condition. I’ve stopped feeling awkward when answering questions about them. Now I consider myself lucky to have them as my siblings,” says Shilpi.
Despite their condition, Anjali and Keshav are happy and both have big dreams for the future, like all children their age: Anjali wants to study arts and Keshav says he wants to be a policeman when he grows up.