Twin brothers Neil and Adam Pearson suffer from a rare disease — neurofibromatosis type 1. If that sounds bad, it’s because it is. If you put Adam and his brother in one room next to each other, you would not believe how different they are, much less think of them as twins.
This rare disease, affecting 1/3000 people, is almost impossible to predict. Adam’s first signs of the illness began to appear when he was just five. That’s when his face started to swell and got all bumpy because of the type one neurofibromatosis that manifested itself as non-malignant tumors.
Even after undergoing over thirty surgeries to remove the benign growths, Adam still ended up with his left eye not working and continued to lose sight in the right one. And to think that it all started with a small little bump on his head. Needless to say, Adam’s childhood was not easy. The doctors had to deal with a tumor on his neck, which could lead to terrible consequences as it was blocking the boy’s trachea. That was Adam’s first serious surgery. Out of thirty. The sheer amount of time he spent in the ICU was astonishing.
The signs of the disease in Adam’s brother were far less noticeable. Even though there were no tumors on Neil’s face, he didn’t have it easy either. Despite his healthy-looking physique, Adam’s twin suffered from epilepsy and memory loss. The gaps in memory became so serious that sometimes he could not even remember what day it was. It took the doctors years to figure out that this side effect was induced by encephalitis caused by a virus and not neurofibromatosis.
Adam admits that memory loss, like in Neil’s case, is one of the scariest things that could happen to him. For now, surgically removing the tumors is the only option to keep the disease at bay. It’s either that or taking a risk with an experimental, poorly-tested drug that has shown some positive effects in the fight against tumors. Everyone knows that no drug comes without side effects. It’s a gamble since, on the one hand, Adam could get his vision back, but on the other hand, he could go completely blind without a chance to regain his sight in the future.
After all these trials and tribulations, this nasty illness did not prevent Adam from becoming a TV presenter and a rather successful actor, which of course, eventually led to him meeting Scarlett Johannson. You can see Adam Pearson in projects like “Chained for Life” and “Under the Skin,” where he co-starred with Scarlett. This 2013 movie was a hot topic for a while, touching upon the hardships of people living with physical deformities.
Pearson has fully come to terms with his illness and has no problems dealing with people, but he admits that he treated the e-mail with the proposal to play a significant role alongside Scarlett Johansson as a joke. It soon turned out that it was a very serious offer that included a nude scene with the actress.
The illness never broke Pearson, and neither did the bullies of the world. His advice for everyone struggling with being criticized is not to believe a single thing they say about you. Because once you start to believe and take things to heart, the bullies have already won.
Recently, Adam has been focused on finding the One, which is very challenging for a regular person but almost nigh impossible for our hero. Even though he is very conscious of his appearance and knows that starting a family may be highly unlikely, Adam is keeping his hopes up. What sucks even more is that neurofibromatosis is a hereditary disease, and there’s a 50% chance his children will be born with it and would have to go through the same or even worse hell as their father.
Whatever life may keep in store for him, Adam will always be able to think back to that time when he and ScarJo were in a movie together.