Living in the dark: Sunlight could kill young woman with rare illness
A young woman has been forced to live indoors because of a rare condition that gives her aggressive skin cancer in sunlight.
Andrea Monroy, 23, was born with Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) – a hereditary defect of the system that repairs damage from ultraviolet rays, causing sufferers extreme sensitivity to the sun.
As a child Andrea developed an unusual amount of freckles and was diagnosed with XP aged five.
To protect her skin her house was fitted with tinted windows, she was home-schooled and only went out at night.
When Andrea leaves the house she covers up her entire body and wears a special hat to protect her face.
And she has undergone a staggering 25 surgeries to remove cancerous cells and has ongoing treatment to target pre-cancerous cells.
Now the brave young woman blogs her experience online to encourage other people facing challenges.
Andrea, who lives in San Diego, California, USA, said: “I was about two years old when I started developing freckles – a lot of freckles.
“In every single way I have always had a different life.
“I never went to school as it wasn’t safe and my mum taught me to read and write.
“The house windows were tinted and are curtains were kept closed if I was in the room.
“I usually don’t go out much on the day. Everything I do is at night.
“When I go out, the sun must not touch my skin. I wear a hat that has a special plastic to protect me from the sun, not completely but it does help.
“And I also wear gloves, the material is special to protect me from the sun.
“It can be very hard but I cover all of my body by wearing jeans, boots, and a jacket.”
Andrea’s life with XP is made harder by bullying who pick on Andrea’s appearance.
She added: “There is still some bullying now but it was worse when I was young.
“Now it is still there, but it doesn’t affect me anymore.
“I love my freckles and my scars, I’ve learnt to love myself. I wish the world was more open.
Andrea occupies her time by reading, painting and photography.
She also blogs about her experience on her website and YouTube channel: NightLensBlog.
She said: “It makes me feel like a better human.
“I thought I was the only one in the world with XP. I realised I wasn’t and I met others that had same thing as me.
“I live each day, day by day. I don’t want to think about the future I just want people in general to live and love life to fullest.
“Life is hard but there is always a way to make the most of it.”