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Woman’s Hair Turns to Fingernails

Shanyna Isom is a 28-year-old beautician and former University of Memphis pre-law student whose story has gone viral in the last few days. Rolling out will provide in-depth coverage on Shanyna, her unique disease and how we can support her through this difficult time.  Let’s first understand what happened to Shanyna.

Shanya has developed a condition so severe, fingernails grow from the hair follicles all over her body.

“Black scabs were coming out of her skin,” said her mother, Kathy Gary. “The nails would grow so long and come out and regrow themselves. They are hard to touch and stick you.”

The disease so far has affected not only her skin, but her bones and her vision. Because Isom is unable to walk without a cane, her mother helps her out of bed each day.

Doctors at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, where Isom is being treated, told her family that she is the only person in the world with this unknown condition.

And now she has $500,000 in unpaid medical bills. Isom has state insurance, but it doesn’t cover medical care in Maryland. Her mother lost her job as a medical receptionist because she looks after her daughter at home, so savings have dried up.

On her blog, Pray for Shanyna, she laments: “It has taken all of my hair out and has left my body with scabs all over it, plus I have lost about 200 pounds. Two years ago, I was a healthy woman on my own … had big dreams and goals that I was following until one day my body completely shut down on me.”

You can support Shanyna by going to her blog  to donate.

1 Comment

  1. shihab on August 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm