This story now
IN People ON 04 Feb, 2016
Jeffrey Ortega, 26, from Deerfield Beach, Florida is suffering from a rare disorder called Proteus Syndrome. It is a rare genetic mutation due to which bones, skin and tissues grow enormously large in size.
This rare disease has affected only 200 people worldwide. While there are people who got their leg amputated for good reason, this man with size 16 feet is suffering from such an extreme pain that he wants his foot removed immediately.
His left foot is extremely deformed now and he wants to get it removed as soon as possible.
His left foot is 17 inches wide and 14 inches long while his right foot is 14.5 inches wide and 12 inches long.
Jeffrey used to wear special shoes to cover his large feet in his teenage. His feet can be fit only in a pair of size 16 crocs.
Jeffrey explained, "If I didn't wash my feet during the day when I was in college, the odor was so strong that even flies started following around my feet."
He had already undertaken 11 feet surgeries till now. He is unable to walk and lead a normal life. He is completely dependent on wheelchair.
The man with a miserable condition is raising funds to get his foot amputated. He said, "I had to face the facts that because of the pain in my foot and all the rogue skin on the bottom of my feet that constantly get infected I need to have my foot amputated. The doctors who could help me amputate my foot cannot help me with it because of the financial issues that I face."
Apart from feet, the disease has affected his legs, hips and hands too. He had started the fund raising campaign 13 months ago and has received more than $15,000 till now. He needs the total amount of $42,000 for operation, prosthetics and physiotherapy.
The alteration of AKT1 gene causes abnormal cell growth. He said: 'My mother noticed my swollen right index finger when I was only nine months old. She thought it was a mosquito bite and tried homemade remedies but it didn't work. Then, when I was one, my father noticed my left leg was a little longer than my right.'
He exclaimed: 'In 2005, the National Institutes of Health gave me a pair of Croc shoes, which they thought were the best fit for me. They agreed to treat me and perform surgery on me - if I allowed them to use me for research about Proteus Syndrome. I can bathe myself with the Crocs on, and I can manoeuvre around the house better with them on. 'I only have one pair though, and the soles are falling apart because I've been using them for the past four years. It's very sad to me to go to a store and see my family find shoes easily. I have to ask the manager to elp me find a pair. They always tell me to try online stores - but I never have any luck there.'
He said: 'I started a GoFundMe page, but have not reached my goal yet. Having the amputation would improve my life so much. It would help me walk again and I won't have to use a wheelchair any more.'
Share this painful story as much as you can to help Jeffrey raise fund for his foot amputation.