Rosa gave birth to Jose at her home in Guatemala. When he was just 2 weeks old, she realized something was wrong.
“His skin seemed fragile and it did not look normal,” she said. “It looked like nylon skin. … We decided to take him to see a doctor. They said he was born with this dry skin illness named ichthyosis.”
The condition is known as ichthyosis vulgaris, and it is an inherited skin disorder. Dead skin cells build up in thick, dry scales on the surface of the skin. There’s no cure for ichthyosis, but treatment, like warm baths and medicated creams, can help ease pain and discomfort.
Jose bathes often to help his skin. He takes five showers a day. He lives close to school and even goes home during recess to shower. But the medicated cream really helps relieve any discomfort he feels from the dry skin.
“I get hot a lot, but I feel good when my mother puts on my cream,” Jose said.
Because Jose is sponsored through Unbound, his sponsorship benefits are tailored to fit his needs and the needs of his family. Jose receives education assistance, clothing and nutrition. Benefits also provide the medicated creams he needs to help with his skin condition.
“[Sponsorship] has helped me because now we are able to buy his body cream,” Rosa said. “His life quality is better now because we can take better care of his condition.”
But Jose makes it clear that he’s just like any other kid. He goes to church and school, he plays soccer, he likes “cowboy music,” and, most importantly, he plays with his younger siblings.
“This is how I was born,” Jose said. “My mom says that this is how God made me, but he loves me just the same.”
Rosa has done a wonderful job raising such a wise young man. She’s learned a lot about motherhood since Jose was diagnosed.
“You must have a humble heart and be willing to fight along their side,” she said. “Give them all your love. This is a condition that they will have all their life but it doesn’t mean that they have to be sad about it.”
Jose dreams about becoming a police officer when he grows up, but for now he is content to be a kid. He’s not going to let ichthyosis change his outlook on life.
“It’s possible to live with it,” he said. “You just need to learn to get up and continue.”
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