The Girl in the Plastic Bubble

Like John Travolta in "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," 13-year-old Laura Weaver of Hereford, England, is allergic to almost everything.

She is allergic to soap, perfume and animals. She is even allergic to the medicines she takes to treat her allergies.

Laura suffers from severe eczema, a nasty condition that prevents her from living the life of a regular teenager.

She can only sleep two hours at a time because she needs to put on cream almost constantly.

In the morning, before she can do anything else, she has to put on cream and bathe for hours, then apply more cream and bandages.


She cannot attend school like a normal teenager because she is allergic to certain chemical products inside classrooms. Instead, for half of her classes she has to sit in a separate room equipped with a computer which she uses to send her work to her teachers.

Often, she cannot stay at school for the entire day, because she hurts and itches so badly.

"Laura pretty much lives with open sores," Laura's mom, Lisa Weaver, told ABC News. "It's like having sunburn all the time."

Eczema causes intense itching that worsens when a sensitive area is scratched.

"It's one of those neverending things. She just never stop scratching," said Lisa. "And that causes bleeding, swelling and very inflamed skin."

Her parents do everything to prevent her from scratching, a nearly hopeless mission.

"She knows she should not scratch," her mother said. "We try to distract her, to keep her occupied. We make sure she has very short nails, but she would use anything to scratch: her teeth, a nail cutter, a hair brush."

Scratching the itch brings tremendous relief to the patients and it can often seem worth the agony and soreness that follows, according to the British National Eczema Society, a charity that provides support and information to people with eczema.

Remedies for the itching include moisturizers and warm baths, according to the National Eczema Society.

Laura also takes steroids to treat her allergies, wears long sleeves and put bandages on every day.

Despite the rashes and her different appearance, she tries to live like any teenager.

"Laura has different needs," Abbey Hughes, from Wyebridge College, told ABC News. "But she is just a student who needs to get the best from school."

"She has a clean room, but she does not use it all the time because we don't want her to feel awkward."

She also enjoys dancing, her mom said, even if "she is not very energetic."

However, unlike most people her age, she has to pay a very high price for a few moments of fun and socializing.

Laura once attended a scouts' camp, but it took her a week to recover from the infections she contracted there, her mom said.

Her mother describes Laura as a happy and caring person.

Laura campaigned for eczema awareness, and raised $1,700 for the National Eczema Society.

She plans another fundraising campaign in September.

However, despite her upbeat spirits and her desire to live like everyone else, Laura is often rejected.

"Many children don't want to play with her," her mom said. "They are afraid to catch something."

"She was bullied quite badly at her former school," she said, and even now she only has a few friends, "because of her appearance."

Unlike Travolta's character in "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," Laura has not found love yet.

"She is upset of not having a boyfriend, of not being able to put on some makeup and being different," said her mother.

"When she looks at herself in the mirror, she says she is 'ugly'. We don't think she is ugly at all, we are absolutely proud of her."