15-Year-Old Girl Who 'Looked Like She Was 60' Given New Face After Strangers Cover Medical Costs
A teenage girl with a rare condition that left her looking like a 60-year-old has now had surgery funded by strangers to fix it.
Xiaofeng, 15, has now unveiled her new face in front of a stunned crowd, after the surgery has left her looking like the youngster she is again - so much so her father says she's unrecognisable.
The disease, Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome, which was inherited from her mother, has reportedly only affected her skin not her organs, but it causes the skin to age much quicker than normal.
Even as a baby her skin was loosening, and by age six, Xiaofeng, from Heishan County, Liaoning Province had already aged dramatically.
Her condition soon became famous across the Chinese nation, thanks to fundraising and awareness campaigns from Chinese philanthropist, Guo Mingyi, 61, after the teen wrote an emotional letter to him.
In the note she described herself as looking like a "grandmother".
The appeals soon led to Shi Lingzhi, director of Shenyang Sunline Plastic Surgery Hospital inviting her to Shenyang in a bid to help.
She said at the time, according to Sunline's press page: "It is my wish to make her safe and beautiful".
The hospital added that the teenager "has the same young heart, dreams, beauty and life as ordinary girls, but her misfortune has caused her to suffer from rare premature ageing."
Not only did the hospital waive 70 per cent of the 500,000 RMB (£55,560) bill for the surgery, kind strangers donated to Mr Guo's non-profit organisation in order to cover the rest of the cost.
But it was no normal face lift. The hospital explained pre-op that normal wrinkle removal involves 1-2cm of skin, but they would be removing 7cm of Xiaofeng's. That's a hell of a lot of skin!
Sunline's website also adds: "This strange disease made her lose everything she should have at this age, even the confidence to live".
And while they were keen to help her, they knew it was no mean feat.
The surgery had to be extra carefully planned because it would be more complicated than usual.
The hospital said pre-surgery: "The whole operation involves facial rejuvenation and nasal deformity correction, endoscope-assisted eyebrow lifting, middle and lower sagging lift, neck relaxation correction, artificial ligament reconstruction, micro-oral ageing etc".
Hospital director Shi Lingzhi added: "We've done many regular wrinkle treatment surgeries, and most of the steps she will go through are the same.
"But the major difference is in her skin, which is very loose and lacks elasticity.
"We will need to transplant skin from other parts of her body to her face, such as from the outside of her thigh."
According to Sunline, Xiaofeng told the media before the operation: "This face has put me under a lot of pressure over the years.
"I want to get better soon and then I will study medicine and do something [for] the society".
So on 29th December, Xiaofeng went under the knife and since her post-operative recovery period she has been "amazed" by results.
She told local media: "Thank you to everyone who helped me. Thank you, Mr Guo, and all the hospital staff for giving me a new future."
Her parents couldn't believe it when staff unveiled their daughter's face either, both breaking down in tears.
Her father said: "This child is just a different person and I can't recognise it".
Featured Image Credit: Sunline Plastic Surgery Hospital & Asia Wire