Dede, The Indonesian Tree Man

The Dryad

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

I have been meaning for some time to post about Dede, which the Telegraph and other news sources have been referring to as “The Indonesian Tree Man.” Rather than posting a photo or screencap of Dede, I’ve substituted this image of The Dryad (a tree spirit, for the uninitiated) because images of Dede’s condition tend to evoke strong reactions. Hit the link for images of Dede’s very serious condition.

Dede cut himself in a teenage accident and began growing what appeared to be “roots” from his hands and feet. The growth continued unchecked until Dede was unable to make a living, and raised his two children in poverty. He appeared in a freak show to make money.

Now 37 (some sources say 35), Dede has a diagnosis, courtesy of Dr. Anthony Gaspari of the University of Maryland. He has been treated and can use his hands and walk without pain. Dede, it turns out, suffers from Epidermodysplasia verruciformis, an infection of Human Papilloma Virus in certain susceptible individuals with a genetic condition that means they can’t fight the disease. He had 13 pounds of warts removed from his body and is being treated, in part, with Vitamin A.

Congratulations to Dede and bully for Dr. Gaspari.


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