Thursday, 12 November 2015

Brave young girl with rare skin condition driven to brink of suicide by cyber bullies

Mui Thomas
  Skin condition: Mui Thomas

Mui Thomas suffers from harlequin itchyosis, meaning she sheds the same amount of skin overnight that most people do in a fortnight, leaving her body raw and prone to infection.

But on top of her personal health battles she has told how she was almost driven to suicide by anonymous cyber bullies .

Though her appearance had little affect on her time at primary school, her move to secondary school
was met with a barrage of vile insults from anonymous cyber bullies.

Worn down by their relentless abuse , Mui was driven to the brink of suicide.

Desperate to live as if she did not have a skin condition, she began to avoid vital treatment designed to help her.

She said: “I’ve blocked most of it out. It was an incredibly difficult time. The comments cut me to the bone. Ultimately, I wanted to commit suicide.

“Because I had no idea who was doing it and my tormentors were hiding behind a screen, I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone. To an extent, not even my own parents.”

Eventually after ten harrowing months, the tormentors were revealed to be classmates of Mui’s.


PA Real Life Condition: Mui, who has rare skin condition, with adopted parents Tina and Rog

Abandoned at birth and taken to a hospital, Mui's now parents Rog, 52, and Tina, 47, started to care for her when she was little over a year old.

But doctors warned that the prognosis for her condition was bleak, and she was unlikely to survive for much longer.

Rog said: “We had the constant threat that Mui might die hanging over our heads for years,”

"Slowly, she rallied, becoming more robust and suffering with fewer fevers and infections.

“But then, when she was a teenager, she was tormented to the point where she contemplated suicide. After everything she’d been through, it was almost anonymous cyber bullies that killed her.

“Cyber bullying can happen to anyone, regardless of who they are. It’s not just those with a visible difference, like Mui. In this age of rage, you’re always going to find people who want to be negative about everything.”


PA Real Life Family: Mui with Tina who took her in as a baby

Rog, from Cardiff, Wales, and Tina, from Frankfurt, Germany, first met on a film set in Hong Kong, where they are still living today.

They fell into a whirlwind romance, getting engaged within two weeks and married within five months.

They decided to put the idea of parenthood on hold, opting instead to become weekend foster carers while they began planning a new life for themselves in Australia.

However, before they left Hong Kong, social services introduced them to Mui – and the couple immediately fell in love.

“We didn’t know anything about Mui’s case before we met her. All we knew was that she looked different,” said Tina.

“But we fell in love with her and her gung ho spirit straight away. There was no way we could have walked away and left her.”


PA Real Life Work: Mui the world's first rugby referee with Ichthyosis

At first, Mui lived in hospital, staying with Rog and Tina at weekends, but they planned to move so had had a difficult choice to make.

Rog said: “We could either go to Australia as planned and start our new lives, or we could give Mui a chance.

“Doctors had warned us she would die soon. A lot of people said we should walk away, but we couldn’t. We decided to become her parents.

“We’re just ordinary people. We aren’t medical experts, we have no idea what’s going to happen to her in the long run.

“We just stepped forward to do something good and help another person.”

At three years old, Mui was formally adopted by Rog and Tina.

Mui Thomas

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