When Gary “Stretch” Turner was born, the midwife told his mother that he had very “loose” skin. What an understatement that would turn out to be!
For the first 13 years of his life, Turner and his family didn’t know why his skin was so stretchy or why minor injuries resulted in extreme bruises and bleeding. Finally, after seeing a parade of doctors, he was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a rare genetic disorder that severely weakens a person’s blood vessels, joints, and skin.
Today, Turner makes a living by showing off his skin at the London Wonder Ground “freak show.” Although he lives with constant pain, he’s an upbeat person and fantastic showman. But don’t take my word for it! This is truly something you have to see for yourself.
Many people are in disbelief when they see Turner’s stretchy skin, but no one is better than him at describing EDS. He told ABC News, “If you look at your own skin cells under a microscope, they’d be nice and round and lock in many places. But my skin cells tend to be more jagged, and don’t fit together quite so well…I’m built rather like a badly woven basket, which will pull apart.”
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Although he makes his living working in a freak show, he says he’s never felt exploited by his profession. In fact, the only time he ever felt shamed by his skin was when doctors from around Great Britain were trying to diagnose him. One day in particular, he was poked and prodded by over 80 medical professionals.