A young man has told of his agony due to a skin condition that means it ‘burns off’ if he eats the wrong type of food.
Harry MacGill has been admitted to hospital 20 times in the last nine years and has undergone 16 operations.
If he uses moisturiser or eats the wrong type of food his face can swell up and his skin “burns off”.
The 23-year-old, from Rochdale, has suffered with a variety of agonising illnesses since his teens.
But, remarkably, later this year Harry is planning to run 100km to raise money for the mental health charity Mind.
Harry’s health problems began in high school when at aged 14 he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, reports the Manchester Evening News.
The stomach pains he suffered as a result were so severe he couldn’t stand up and it meant he had to take six months off school.
“I didn’t think about work or study or anything because that’s just not a realistic thing for me,” he said.
“I get frustrated a lot but never really angry, because this is all I’ve known since I was 14.
“For 10 years it’s just been a feeling of emptiness rather than anger
“Everyone knows someone who was always ill at school and I’m that guy. That’s the harsh reality.”
At his lowest ebb his weight plummeted to just 6st and surgeons were forced to remove half his stomach during a 15-hour procedure.
But it also proved to be a turning point in Harry’s life.
“It was very, very tough,” he said.
“I still vividly remember coming round from the procedure and I was in so much pain.
“I was slipping in and out of consciousness and I was having really vivid hallucinations because of the medication.
“I know it sounds cheesy but I had visions of running a marathon, so that’s what I started working towards.”
Now he has got the balance of his medication, exercise and diet right, Harry feels better than he has done in years.
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And on June 23, he is planning to run an ultra-marathon in the Cotswolds in aid of Mind.
“I have had some dark times and rough times in my life,” he said.
“I definitely didn’t look after my mental health. The way I viewed it was ‘I’m feeling like this because of my health problems, so what’s the point of therapy or medication?’
“It’s a full time job trying to dance around my medications and get the balance right, but at the minute I’m eating the right things, I’m exercising, so things are good.”
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