A woman who suffers from a rare genetic condition that leaves her body covered in thousands of skin tags is speaking out about her condition after years of cruel comments from strangers.
Megan Crews, 31, first developed Neurofibromatosis (NF) at birth but it wasn’t until her early 20s that tags started to appear on her skin.
The special needs teacher, who is originally from the UK but is currently backpacking across Australia, said that she’s often stared at in public because of her tags - and that dates have even asked her if she has an STI.
Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes non-cancerous tumours to grow on nerve endings.
Megan said: “Living with neurofibromatosis can be painful, exhausting, embarrassing, stressful, upsetting and life changing.
“But, if you allow it, it also brings strength, love, laughter, friendships, experiences, and life lessons that no one else has the opportunity to have.
"Keep holding your head high, keep on fighting, keep on spreading the awareness, keep on wearing what you want, going where you want to go and try to live the life you that you want to live.”
Megan has the tags across her chest, arms, shoulder back, groin and legs as a side effect of her condition.
Despite the striking appearance of the tags, she insists that she won’t cover herself up in spite of the stares she sometimes gets.
She said: "At times it has knocked my confidence; I've felt I wouldn't be able to do the jobs I wanted to do or live the life I wanted to have.
"I felt that I could never be loved or appreciated and that everyone would be disgusted by my skin tags, especially once they started and continued appearing and spreading
"However, I have got the jobs I wanted and excelled in them, I've lived the life I've wanted to and loved it.
"I've travelled the world, had the most incredible experiences, met the most amazing people, and had conversations that have changed my mindset and allowed me to accept my life and my body."
Megan said that when she first developed the condition, a man she was seeing asked her if she had an STI.
She said: "I was seeing a guy and he asked if there was something wrong with me because of my skin.
"It was frustrating because I had explained the condition to him."
As well as skin tags, Megan also has benign tumours on her thumb and back which cause her crippling pain.
She said: "The pain is the main thing that is hard to deal with.
"At times it stops me from enjoying my day. I struggle to sit or stand for long periods of time. I can't go to the gym, swim, or run.
"However, I am still able to power walk, climb up and down gorges.
"I've had moments in my life where I hated having NF and asked why me.
"But I've also worked hard on that and now I'm happy and proud to have it and would never want to have or have had a life without it.
"Life is for living, and I live each day as fully as I can."