Sunday, April 20, 2008

Meet Tree Man


Meet Dede Koswara, a 35-year old Indonesian, more commonly known as "Tree Man". And if you have seen the video then you would have an idea of what why he's called as Tree Man. And in case you were wondering he is not half man and half tree. He is 100% man. The tree like growths on his digits and face are not plant in origin. They are actually over growth of warts caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the same virus that is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that causes genital warts. Unfortunately for Dede's case, he has an abnormal genetic make-up that causes his immune system to be as weak as a person with AIDS that is why the HPV is successful in literally taking over his body.

Dede was left by his wife because of his appearance and his two children (an 18 year old boy and 16 year old girl) had to live with his other relatives because he was not able to take care of them anymore because he is incapable of working (since he can't grasp things with his root-like hands) and is forced to live in poverty. He is able to survive by some provisions given to him by his extended family and from being the center of attraction at their village's local "freak show".

Good enough for him an American Dermatologist promised to help him return to his normal life by performing several surgeries to prevent the warts from totally debilitating him and taking his life as these warts could become cancerous.

And here is a picture of him after his first surgery:

Not much change is seen but at least his hands and feet are already starting to look like hands. From being the local village freak-show I do hope that he could achieve his dream of getting a job and returning to a normal life and maybe even find love. Well, Dede, I wish you all the luck!

I really honor the courage that he has. If I was faced with the same affliction I might not have survived at all. I know that many people are disgusted at his sight and are making fun of him but once you place yourself in his position, you would be able to have some empathy for him and you would realize what a strong person he is.
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