Boy whose skin falls off can’t sit on toilet and could be killed by papercut

A papercut could be enough to kill a teenager whose skin is so fragile that he can’t even sit on a toilet.

Rhys Williams has defied the odds by making it to 15 years old after being born with a severe skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa (EB).

When he was born, Rhys' parents were told his skin is so thin that the tiniest impact could be life-altering and that he may not make it to double figures.

The brave lad from Bolton is unable to do everyday activities like brushing his own teeth, but remains fighting for his life and has his "sweet 16" birthday party coming up this month.

Mum Tanya Williams, 38, said: "Every day is scary – there are so many threats to his health that can have terrible consequences.

"Something as simple as a papercut or a tiny scratch from a nail can be fatal to Rhys.

"He is in so much pain all the time and I can see it in his eyes every day, it's hard to watch as a mum.

"But he is such a strong boy and he never gives up. He can't go and ride a bike or play football with his friends but he has a smile for everyone he sees."

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With Rhys' health gradually declining, he and his family and friends are determined to make as many memories together as possible.

Tanya added: "He's been through way too much for his age but he's surpassed all of doctors expectations by a mile and we're so proud of him.

"We just have to take every day as it comes and make as many memories as possible."

The teen, who lives with his mum, dad Mark, 54, and sister Teegan, nine, was born with the severe condition which affects collagen in the skin.

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EB causes the skin to be so fragile that the slightest touch can tear it or cause severe blisters.

Mum Tanya, who is his full-time carer, described how Rhys, who is permanently in a wheelchair, has serious infections "about 40 weeks of the year" because of how weak his immune system is.

Tanya said: "It's horrible to see your child going through this and there is nothing we can do about it.

"His health gets worse with age, but he has proven all the doctors wrong by making it this far.

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"He has a smile for everyone, no matter what he is going through.

"He has never once complained even when we can tell he is in pain."

After learning earlier this year that Rhys has developed a heart condition relating to his EB, the family decided to make his 16th birthday, on September 21, especially memorable – fearing it may be his last.

For his 14th birthday, the family pedalled a campaign to get as many birthday cards delivered to Rhys as possible and they were blown away after thousands of cards showed up at the house.

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The family have repeated the campaign this year and plan to host a sweet 16 party for the teen.

"They say not all superheroes wear capes and he is our superhero," Tanya said.

Tanya encourages kind-hearted people to send birthday cards to 40 Whalley Avenue, Bolton, BL1 5UD.

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