Boy, 7, Wears UV-Protective Suit Outdoors Due to His Allergy to the Sun
Little Oliver Kei is 1,000 times more likely to develop skin cancer because of the condition.
For a boy who's allergic to the sun, playing outside requires an entire space suit.
Oliver Kei, 7, has xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), a rare, genetic condition that can cause his skin to become damaged beyond repair if he is exposed to UV rays.
It also causes him to be 1,000 times more likely than the average person to develop skin cancer.
But, little Oliver makes it work, wearing his plastic visor and UV-safe clothing and gloves in the daytime. He goes out to play when the sun goes down.
"I love it when it’s nice and dark because I can finally take off my gear and it feels great," he told SWNS. "I love school breaks too because my family is on 'Oliver time.' We stay up really late and sleep in so we can go outside and play in the backyard at night."
Instead of participating in outdoor sports or swinging around on the jungle gym, Oliver enjoys indoor activities like dancing jazz and ballet.
His mom, Noelle Kei, 45, said she discovered her son's condition at about a year old, when she started seeing freckles on his face.
"'When he was a baby, I was always so careful with sunscreen and hats, which is why I thought it was odd he was developing a lot of freckles at about 18 months," she said. "He developed a little mole on his cheek and my mom urged me to go and get it looked at by a dermatologist."
That’s when she discovered little Oliver was a "child of the moon," a nickname given to kids diagnosed with XP.
"The concept that he could be allergic to sun was bizarre to me," she said. "I had never even heard of something like that."
Ever since, she has perfected a routine with Oliver that begins with lathering him up with a special sunscreen, and making sure he is covered head-to-toe with clothes that have UV-safe fabric sewn on the inside.
The windows of their home and car have a UV-safe film, and lightbulbs at Oliver’s school are covered with a special sleeve.
"Nobody at my school even asks me about it anymore because they all know about my XP," Oliver said.
But adult onlookers aren’t quite as friendly, Noelle said.
“We’ve had people come up to Oliver and say things like, ‘Is it Halloween already?' or call him a beekeeper or astronaut," she explained. "I’ve even made business cards that I can give people that explain Oliver’s condition that I give out when people ask questions or are whispering."
The family currently lives in California so Noelle can receive treatment for an unrelated autoimmune condition, but she says they will consider moving to a less sunny city when her health improves.
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