An eight-year-old boy has left doctors baffled after his hands swelled to giant proportions and now weigh more than two stone.
Young Kaleem, from India, is unable to carry out simple tasks, including tying his own shoe laces, after he was born with hands twice the size of an average baby.
His mother Haleema, 27, said she knew he was different at birth but was powerless to help and the youngster’s hands have now grown so large they measure 13 inches from the base of his palm to the end of his middle finger.
The eight-year-old claims he is bullied because of his giant hands and has difficulty performing simple tasks
The cricket fan said he has been bullied and shunned most of his life because others are ‘scared’ of his deformity.
He said: ‘I do not go to school because the teacher says other kids are scared of my hands.
‘Many of them used to bully me for my deformity. They would say “let’s beat up the kid with the large hands”.
‘Some of them have actually beaten me and would go after me often.
‘I have no problem if they could do it without an injection. A small operation would be okay.’
His parents, who earn just £15 a month, have been desperately trying to find help for their son – but to no avail.
His mother Haleema, 27, (pictured with Kaleem and another one of her children) said she feels ‘powerless’
His mother, who has other children who do not suffer from the same condition, said: ‘When Kaleem was born his hand was twice the size of a normal baby’s.
‘His hands were big and his fingers were long. Initially his fists were small but they began to grow large as well and his fingers also kept growing.’
His father, Shamim, 45, who works as a labourer, is worried his son will never be independent and blames himself for not earning enough money.
‘He has difficulty feeding himself because his fist does not bend properly – so we have to feed him,’ he said.
‘Using two fingers he is able to pick up some things like a glass of water to drink.
‘We want to take him to the hospital but there have been times when money has been so low that my wife has been forced to go begging.
‘In that kind of financial situation, getting treatment for Kaleem was difficult.
‘Even when I tried to get Kaleem into the school, the headmaster told me to put in writing that the school would not be responsible if the other children were afraid of his hands or bullied him or laughed at him.’
The couple have only just been able to take their son to a local doctor for an assessment but their hopes of an instant cure have been dashed.
Dr Ratan, the director of the local hospital, said: ‘As far as my knowledge goes, this is an extremely rare condition.
‘I have not seen a case in medical journals or on the internet where only the hands grew to such a large size.
‘Until we have done proper genetic testing we will not be able to say exactly what is causing this deformity.’
He said that apart from the unsightly growths, Kaleem is in good health – with properly functioning lungs and heart.
But as his hands continue to grow it may put increased pressure on his cardiovascular system, potentially shortening his life.
Elsewhere, Dr Krishan Chugh, head of paediatrics at the state-of-the-art Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurgaon, near Delhi, has also been left baffled after reviewing photographs and videos of the boy’s hands.
However, he believes Kaleem may be suffering from either lymphangioma or hamartoma – which are both treatable.
He added: ‘This condition looks very rare and I have come across something like this before. Without proper examination and medical tests I am not 100 per cent sure about what this is.’
Lymphangioma is a condition of the lymphatic system which causes extreme inflammation resulting in doughy masses forming in certain parts of the body.
Hamartoma is a benign type of tumour where the body produces excess tissue.
After hearing from the doctors, Kaleem’s parents now have renewed optimism that something can be done for their son and are doubling their efforts to raise money for him.
‘We have tried several places with no solutions so far,’ said Shamim.
‘But I have a feeling there is a way to get the resources to give my son a normal life.’