Medical mystery Boy living with rare excess skin condition 60 Minutes Australia

to medical science Tom Tennant is a mystery for reasons no one yet understands he was born hugely wrinkled by an excess of skin doctors had no treatment and no cure only the hope that as Tom grew older he might somehow grow into all that spare skin it was a condition never seen before and 11 years on Tom's still the only person in the world to have it when first we met Tom Tennant he was a lovable toddler totally unaware of his condition but he obviously made a big impression for over the years we've received countless letters asking about his progress so tonight the latest fascinating chapter in the young life of the remarkable Tom Tennant down on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula number 24 for the dramatic Tigers shows plenty of promise but he doesn't stand out from the pack and that's exactly how Tom Tennant likes it is there anything about yourself that you don't work so when you look in the mirror what do you see tom well I see a kind loving person a kind loving person Tom Tennant is also a unique person 11 years ago he was born with a never-before-seen skin condition simply he had far too much of it my heart came up into my throat but at the same time there was love there too and he just wanted to pick him up and cuddle him during the pregnancy ultrasound picked up the problem but it's full extent wasn't revealed to Debbie and Jeff until Tom was born when I saw him come out I was quite shocked cuz I didn't expect to see you know I didn't think a human or a little baby could ever look like that and then once he started crying that was it he's a little baby just like anyone else as a toddler tom was happily oblivious of his condition as he played with older sister Brooke [Music] back then he was just starting to grow into his skin almost 10 years on look at him now it's just like he's actually growing into his extra skin and it's more obvious when now that he's older it's when when they have their growth spurt and like Tom's growing quite a few inches in the last 12 months and it's been a big improvement so you're literally watching him take up all we're giving it was born with yeah what do you think of his progress he's fine no different than anyone else as far as I'm concerned yeah I think he's gorgeous he's just a great kid has anyone ever said anything to you um sometime yeah what if I said well they sometimes say I look cool sometimes I'm really cool and sometimes they don't say anything and how do you think you look cool Tammy it's a lot softer no one had ever seen a condition like this including Tom's doctors the only clue to Tom's excess skin was an oversupply of hyaluronic acid it's one of the essential building blocks of life but Tom had 100 times more than everyone else despite a diagnosis all doctors could do was watch this little boy and hope time would fix the problem it's been the other striking recent decade on Tom's doctor pediatrician andrew Ramsdens is still watching Tom's been a challenge in trying to understand what the underlying problem is to know what one should do for him because mom's got nothing to turn to in terms of guidance for his treatment do you feel like there's anything wrong with you no have you ever felt there's something wrong with you [Music] [Applause] [Music] it's not the Tom isn't concerned about his appearance it's just that he's not too worried by the extra skin he still has the red marks on stomach and chest which he proudly calls his six-pack are diminishing with time likewise the loose skin on his arms and legs is it important for you to look like your friends like cuz I'm their friend and they don't really care what I look like well I don't really care about skin I'm he helped me with all my computer games and danboy games and having friends of course requires a thick skin I actually like it above us their country's above us have lots of troubles with volcanoes and there's a certain area around there that has lots of fire coming out of the ground what do you think we call that section Tom it's the Ring of Fire though learning about endangered species at school and he was coming home so I was tell me about quite a few of the animals that are endangered and then he just blurted out and said because I'm the only one in the world does that mean I'm an endangered species I thought it was really an hysterical actually he said he thinks it's an endangered species geez don't think you're an endangered species No so if you're not an endangered species anymore what are you just like one of a kind yeah you put a hole in it to meet Tom Tennant is to meet well-adjusted and confident eleven-year-old to see him now it's easy to forget what the early days must have been like I was in a local bakery and a lady came up to me as I was getting out of the bakery and said how could you take a child that looks like this out in public a child like yours should be kept in and I was devastated what did you say to that woman nothing it's I am I've led it's got upset and just left it's sad because you should get to know Tom because I'm sure you could teach her a lot now yeah what do you think it'd be self mmm in the video I think I look pretty cute do you yeah is there a message in this story that people um I think there is yes where is it probably don't judge people by what they look like is that what people have done to you they did sometimes when I first started school yeah what hurts you the most probably that not much people play with me then why weren't they playing with you I think they thought I was an alien or something and what did you do to show them that you weren't an alien I started joining in these games and then I got lots of friends [Music] it says a lot about Tom that his first response is never retreat his spirit certainly impresses his parents we've learnt a lot like one that give everything a God it's just just the way he is with his attitude to jazz ballet because it did just Bello for a while and it's just getting out there and having fun and enjoying what you do he's willing to give anything to go and you know I never used to do that sort of thing I can't do this so I'm not gonna do it but he will just give anything a go now the dating game mm-hmm how's that going why not because I haven't had a girlfriend in ages haven't you yeah have you asked anyone out recently but recently but a year ago I asked my last girlfriend I had out and she whacked me in the nars she didn't wake you did she yes she did she yeah What did he say to her ouch but what did you say to her to make her want to hit you well I said I pretty sure I asked her out to the movies or something that's what I said and her response was Bank when Tom was born doctors and scientists could only look to the sharp a breed of dog for any sort of guidance they too were born with too much skin but seemed to eventually grow into it today it's still these puppies who hold the key to Tom's genetic puzzle like cause like but some people like little puppy dogs and they might like move it more you think eventually he will grow entirely and he escaped I think the problems gonna go away completely I imagine you still going to have some areas of his skin that's but second Jinping called but I think that you know whilst one doesn't know what to expect because there's no other child with the same problem you know there's no reason to not expect that but Farah grace his mind is going to continue over the years so it's all good news how do you feel about the person he is very proud he's a good boy a real good boy what makes you proud I just cause of all these achievements from where it was to where he is now and he's doing well at school and he's doing well and everything what makes the tenant family so special is they've always treated Tom just like any other child lots of love but no cotton wool and certainly no hiding away does Tom see his place in the world to show people that he may look different but in fact he's not that different yeah he does yeah I guess I've always instilled it him it's a bit that he's beautiful on the inside and it's all that matters if you could change anything about yourself what would it be mmm probably nothing [Music] hello I'm Tara brown thanks for watching to keep up with the latest from 60 minutes Australia make sure you subscribe to our channel you can also download the 9 now app for full episodes and other exclusive 60 minutes content