Sunday People newspaper real-life story pullout…
When the Sunday People contacted me last week to see ask me which were the wackiest real-life stories I’ve come across over the years, I said I could think of many.
They wanted to run a weirdest story pull out in the centre pages of the paper.
And three stories immediately stood out as particularly odd!
One was the story of Millie, five, who almost died when she ate so much hair it caused a blockage in her intestines. Millie had a bizarre habit of sucking and swallowing her hair – called Rapunzel syndrome (because the hair forms a long rope in the digestive tract.)
Fortunately an emergency operation saved Millie’s life and you can read the full story below.
Then there was Ian’s bizarre tale. Ian spent months looking pregnant after cysts on his kidneys swelled up. His tum looked so odd that friends and medical staff joked he looked as if he were expecting twins.
Eventually he had an operation to remove his diseased kidneys and it was then friends sent him cards congratulating him on the birth of his twins. Ian now keeps healthy with regular dialysis and needless to say is half the man he was!
Finally there was Danielle and Brandon’s very quirky story about their haunted house. They eventually got rid of evil spirits after consulting a local paranormal team on Facebook.
Rapunzel Syndrome – the girl who ate her own hair…
A five year-old girl almost died – after feasting on her own hair.
Little Millie Wallis was found to be suffering from ‘Rapunzel Syndrome’ after her hair formed a rope which wrapped itself around her internal organs, almost killing her.
The bizarre syndrome, named after the Fairy tale character, is so rare that there have been only 27 reports in the world.
And it took eight visits to doctors before Millie’s condition was diagnosed.
Last night Mum Lisa Wallis, 40, an accounts clerk, praised doctors who saved her daughter’s life.
She said: “Doctors told us there was a real chance Millie could have died from this. We knew she liked to fiddle with her hair.
“Since she was three she had plucked it out, causing bald patches, but we had no idea she was eating it in such large amounts.”
The Wallis’ nightmare began in August last year when Millie began complaining of stomach ache.
“At first we thought she just had a tummy upset,” says Mrs Wallis, from Lancashire, “but despite going back and forth to our GP four times, Millie kept complaining of pains.
“In October she even spent the night in agony at Blackpool Victoria’s A&E but doctors couldn’t find anything wrong and she was discharged after one day.”
However, eventually she took a turn for the worse.
Mrs Wallis, who is married to Stephen, 40, a joiner, with whom she has another daughter, Olivia, three said: “Doctors began treating her for constipation. But then she went downhill. She couldn’t eat anything and began losing weight.”
Millie was referred to Liverpool’s Alder Hey hospital where tests (endoscopy – camera down the digestive system) revealed a mass in Millie’s stomach.
“We were terribly worried it could be some tumour but when doctors operated and found it was a huge hair ball, with ropes of hair reaching down her digestive tract, we were both relieved and horrified.”
Consultant Paediatric Surgeon Colin Baillie said: “Millie suffered from something known a Rapunzel Syndrome. Her stomach was full of hair and we found it was attached to a long rope of hair which extended right through her intestines. Then it had caused a cheese wife effect cutting through her bowel.
“The syndrome is very rare and in years of practice, I have never seen anything quite like it.”
Afterwards, Millie, who has now recovered, had her hair cut short, in a fashionable bob, to try to deter her from eating her hair.
“When the doctor told me not only did she have a giant hairball, that filled her stomach, but a rope was attached to it that was about two feet long, I was horrified,” said Mrs Wallis.
“Thankfully Millie has now made a good recovery. She has also promised not to eat her hair any more and so we have allowed her to grow it shoulder length again.”
* Rapunzel, a story written by Brothers Grimm and first published in 1812, is thought to be based on St Barbara, A Christian martyr who was imprisoned in a tower for most of her life. The story goes that Rapunzel was locked in a tower by a witch without stairs nor a door and only one room and window. When the witch went to visit, she stood beneath the tower and called out, ‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so that I may climb the golden stair…’
Eventually Rapunzel was rescued by a passing prince who climbed up her hair and asked her to marry him.
*Rapunzel Syndrome is caused by a compulsive disorder which makes a person eat their own hair. When the stomach is full of hair, it overflows into the small intestine causing a blockage. In rare cases it can be fatal.
Do you have a wacky story that is suitable for multiple publication in newspapers and magazines? If so contact me using the form to the right of this page…