Bob’s body is covered in hundreds of tumours due to a rare gene-malfunction disorder, and he admits the lumps have caused him years of heartache
A man whose body is covered in lumps feels normal for the first time in his life after deciding to join a FREAKSHOW.
Bob Heslip, nicknamed ‘Bubble Boy’ suffers from Neurofibromatosis type 1, a gene malfunction which causes bumps to appear on his skin.
The disorder, more commonly known as NF-1, effects one in every 3,000 people and can vary in its severity.
Bob, from Tuscon in Arizona, USA, doesn’t have the option to surgically remove the tumours as there is no guarantee they won’t grow back.
The 50-year-old says the disorder, which affects one in 2500 people, isn’t painful but the lumps have caused him years of heartache.
Bob told the Huffington Post: “I know I get people staring at me
“But I live in Arizona. If I wear longhsleeves I’ll pass out with the heat.”
A few months ago Bob visited the Venice Beach Freakshow in Los Angeles, California, with his family where he admits feeling at home.
Owner Todd Ray spoke to him about his condition and offered him a role in the show – which he accepted to raise awareness of his disorder.
Todd said: “Bob has an interesting story – he has always struggled with the so-called ‘normal’ world and has never quite been allowed to fit in.
“This has given him a unique perspective on society and when he shares his story with the audience they are touched.
“This is the ultimate goal for us at the Freakshow.
“We always try to give the audience a transformative experience that forces them to question their ideas of normal.
“When Bob removes his shirt on stage and when they hear his story, some tear up and they all applaud.”
Since joining the show, Bob has been performing alongside other acts, including a bearded lady, the smallest married couple in the US and a man completely covered in hair.
“I went to the front, took off my shirt and the crowd went crazy,” he said.
“When I met the performers, there was a feeling of belonging. I felt at home.”
He added that he wanted to teach people that it wasn’t taboo to ask questions and he wanted to show his son and eldest daughter, who also have the condition, that his “attitude is positive”.