Meet Bob Heslip, a 50 year old man from Tuscon, Arizona who suffers from Neurofibromatosis type 1, a gene malfunction which causes bumps to appear on his skin. The disorder is more commonly known as NF-1. It affects 1 in every 3,000 people and can vary in its severity.
Heslip works at a Dollar Tree in Arizona as well as the Venice Beach Freakshow in California. The dad of three had to endure people looking at him strangely for almost his whole life. His disorder led to some issues as customers don’t want him touching items because they think he’s contagious. And the most saddening thing is that, he doesn’t have a guarantee if the tumors won’t go back if they are to be removed surgically.
But, a few months ago, when Bob and his family visited the Venice Beach Freakshow in Los Angeles, California, he suddenly gets a sense of being at home. In that light, he has changed his outlook on life that had also given him a new potentially lucrative career.
Heslip said that he was at the Venice Beach Freakshow with his family when the owner recognized his bubble-like skin as NF-1. Both men talked and Heslip ended up performing for the audience.
I went to the front, took off my shirt and the crowd went crazy! When I met the performers, there was a feeling of belonging. I felt at home”.
He talked with the bearded lady, a man completely covered in hair and America’s smallest married couple. And, he said, he finally felt comfortable — for the first time in decades. And by then, he got the name, “BUBBLE BOY”.
I want to teach people that it’s not taboo to ask questions. I’m OK talking about it. My son and oldest daughter also have this condition and me speaking out about it gets them excited. They know my attitude is positive,” he added.
via The Huffington Post