A PENSIONER tormented by bullies because of a rare medical condition is setting up a support group to help others affected by the disease.
Marian Colley, aged 75, spent her younger years subjected to playground taunts and countless hospital visits while medics attempted to find out what caused the benign lumps and tumours which frequently appeared on her body.
It was not until she reached the age of 40 that she was given a diagnosis - neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition which affects around one in every 2,500 people.
Symptoms of the disease - known as NF - can vary, but in Marian’s case it was painful lumps, clumsiness and the malformation of her arm which forced her into early retirement from her job as a civil servant.
Marian attended a support group in the north east but has been unable to track down a group offering help to people with NF since moving to Sheffield in 2002.
Now she has taken matters into her own hands and organised an awareness day in the hope of establishing a South Yorkshire group.
Marian, of Millhouses, Sheffield, said: “Since I’ve lived in Sheffield I’ve not met a single other person with NF.
“They must be out there as it is detected in babies before they are born these days. Not a lot of people have heard about it and there isn’t a lot of help out there.
“I was bullied at school for certain things which were put down to my condition. I was once bounced around in the cloakroom by other girls, but I have never let it get me down. I just got on with things.
“I am sure that when I was growing up, my mum could’ve done with support. She worried my condition was due to something she had done when she was pregnant. Having other people around who knew about it would have given her reassurance.”
n The NF awareness event is at Central United Reformed Church, Norfolk Road, on June 20, from 10am.