Rare Condition Causes Woman to Have Gigantic Legs, Feet

Mandy Sellars said she's endured taunts, questions about her unusual appearance.

ByABC News
September 9, 2008, 10:18 AM

Sept. 9, 2008— -- One of the few things Mandy Sellars wanted out of life was something many people tried to avoid.

"In life, a lot of people don't like to be labeled as this or that or the other," Sellars said. "But all my life, I've been kind of searching for a label for myself."

The label, she thought, would be the answer to a mystery that her doctors had not been able to solve.

"There's been hardly any contact with doctors," she said. "I've been kind of, in my own words, put on the shelf and kind of forgotten about."

Sellars is 33 years old and weighs 285 pounds. Her upper torso is a petite size 8 and accounts for only about 70 or 80 pounds of her weight. The rest is in her legs and feet.

"When I was born, there was a noticeable difference between my upper body and my lower body," Sellars said. "They didn't actually expect me to live further than about a few, a few days or so."

Throughout her childhood, the growth of her legs continued to outpace the rest of her body until she could no longer move on her own. She walks now with the aid of crutches and drives a specially equipped automobile.

Near her home in northwestern England, Sellars goes to a private shoemaker. Her right foot is 16 inches long and 7 inches wide, and her legs are of differing lengths because the left foot -- a club foot, 11 inches long -- faces backward.

So the fittings are delicate. It takes weeks of trial and error to produce the final molds for a pair of boots, and they will cost around $4,000 -- money she has to raise because she is unemployed.

The public's reaction to her has sometimes been brutal. She recalled being heckled once by a gang of youths.

"Just walking through the park with a friend, that's all. And, there must've been three, four, five, teenagers on bikes, or something," she said. "And they just started making the usual kind of comments, you know, 'Oh, my God, look at that.' You know, 'Isn't that disgusting?' And just kind of circling myself and my friend on their bikes. Something like that is very intimidating."