Preda­tor raped girl and abused two oth­ers

Accrington Observer - - FRONT PAGE - STUART PIKE ac­cringtonob­server@men­media.co.uk @Ac­cring­tonNews

A“LIFE­LINE” sup­port group launched by Mandy Sel­lars for fel­low suf­fer­ers of a rare over­growth con­di­tion could gain char­i­ta­ble sta­tus.

Mandy, of Bolton Av­enue, Hun­coat, set up the group to help fam­i­lies around the world af­fected by the PIK3CA gene mu­ta­tion and con­di­tions linked to Pro­teus Syn­drome.

Mandy was the first per­son in the world to be di­ag­nosed with the con­di­tion leav­ing her huge legs and feet, but says the group now helps more than 150 peo­ple reach­ing out through so­cial me­dia.

She said she hopes it will gain char­ity sta­tus within months, al­low­ing them to pro­vide items such as wheel­chairs, clothes and shoes.

Mandy, 42, said: “I’m in the process of get­ting my char­ity reg­is­tered. Once that’s done the peo­ple who run the char­ity can start help­ing peo­ple fi­nan­cially. The Char­i­ties Com­mis­sion have the pa­per­work.”

She added: “Peo­ple may be less likely to give to it rather than say a can­cer char­ity be­cause you’re less likely to have some­one in your fam­ily af­fected. But this con­di­tion is out there.

“It may not be com­mon but there are more and more chil­dren be­ing di­ag­nosed with it.”

There are 158 peo­ple on the Gopi3ks Face­book page, from all over Europe and also Aus­tralia.

Mandy added: “It’s good to be able to help peo­ple and par­ents who are just so con­fused. The ma­jor­ity of the time doc­tors just haven’t got a clue. It’s a life­line that, un­til 2013, didn’t ex­ist.

“That’s a re­ally good feel­ing.”

Mandy, who has been tak­ing med­i­ca­tion to shrink the size of her legs since last year, has lost five stone but now says she is in a bit of a “limbo”.

She ex­plained: “Un­for­tu­nately the body is now get­ting used to the med­i­ca­tion. I wouldn’t say it’s stopped work­ing but I’m not los­ing any more weight. Un­for­tu­nately I can’t up the dose of med­i­ca­tion be­cause of the po­ten­tial side ef­fects.

“I still suf­fer with pres­sure sores on my foot, which has stopped me do­ing a lot of stuff and get­ting my shoe on. It means be­ing stuck in bed rest­ing my foot. I do go out and en­joy my­self, but it’s just find­ing a bal­ance.”

Mandy is now con­sid­er­ing li­po­suc­tion to help her hit her 14 stone target weight.

To take part in a raf­fle fundraiser for Gopi3ks visit https://donor­box.org/gopi3ks giv­ing your ‘name/num­ber/meal for 2’ in sub­ject line.

Tick­ets £2 a strip. The prize is an In­dian meal for two at Agra, Ac­cring­ton Road, Hap­ton.

Mandy Sel­lars started the group Gopi3ks to help other suf­fers of rare growth con­di­tion PIK3CA

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