A 42-year-old mother-of-four who calls herself a “real life vampire” says she can’t be exposed to sunlight even for a minute without running the risk of being rushed to a hospital.
Lorraine Valentine, from Bournemouth in the UK, suffers from an extremely rare condition known as EPP (erythropoietic protoporphyria), which makes people extremely sensitive to sun or UV light.
So bad is the condition that Valentine cannot visit hot climates for fear of her whole body swelling, not to mention an extended trip to the hospital.
Valentine explained that summer is the worst time of year for her, when even small, menial tasks require much planning and effort.
Valentine explained, “It’s always worst when the sun first comes out because I have no time to adjust. I have to pull the curtains closed and have to have a fan on, as any heat is painful.”
When she was first diagnosed with the rare blood condition, which directly affects the liver, Valentine was shocked to learn that it was incurable.
Even a visit to the market for Valentine is a struggle, as UV light, which reflects up from the shiny floor, is painful.
Ms. Valentine added, “From March to November I completely cover up when I’m going to pick up the kids. When it’s boiling hot and I’m wearing boots, jeans, a big cardigan, scarf and hat, I do get funny looks off the parents. They think I’m a bit strange. I try and do normal things and not let it affect me.”
In terms of family vacations, the condition makes them almost impossible. Valentine explained that the illness has also affected how she interacts with her children.
“It was difficult for them growing up. When I was crying because I was in so much pain, they couldn’t even hold my hand. The slightest touch puts me in agony.”
Valentine concluded by saying that she intends to fight until a cure is found for her rare condition.
She told reporters, “I’ll battle for this. I’ve suffered for so long and been through so much. There needs to be treatment available.”
[Image credit: mirror.co.uk]