Nina is an extremely affectionate, selfless, imaginative and gentle child – shy to strangers but extroverted to loved ones. She has always had a very particular and unique interest in all things bird related, and loves reading books and playing “pretend” with people she knows very well and trusts.

She dislikes light, loud noises, balloons, and finds it unsettling to be in small crowded places. She loves placing herself in other people’s shoes, and imagining fictional scenarios for those people that she acts out and adores hearing stories at night.

More info:

Nina suffers from extreme photophobia and a variety of gastro-intestinal problems, and has a development delay

She is visually impaired. It was only in July 2015, when Nina was already 2.8 years old, that the rheumatology team at the Great Ormond Street found an abnormality in Nina’s Adam 17 gene that could explain all her symptoms.

Nina’s condition means that she has extreme photophobia and so has to wear sunglasses at all times

The abnormality of the Adam 17 gene is believed to increase pro-inflammatory cytokine production, possibly leading to her symptoms, and is the only known registered case in the medical literature. But this diagnosis is under question, with further genetic screenings due to take place to try and find out more about her case.

Due to Nina’s extreme photophobia and difficult eating habits, her social life has been severely affected

She is unable to participate in many of the outdoor activities that other children participate in, or even in indoor activities where the light is too bright. Additionally, she must take a daily anti-inflammatory injection and a variety of medicines, due to the severe pain she suffers from her condition, which has meant that eating food is also painful for her.

Her days are spent eating and drinking very small amounts of food at constant intervals, so she can get the nutrition required for her development

Her condition really restricts what she can do. Nina is also limited in her capacity to travel abroad, because of the number of medicines she need to tke with her, including daily injections, her special formula and other medicines that need to be refrigerated.

Nina often plays in low light conditions so it does not hurt her eyes

Her sleeping patterns have been severely affected as well, because she is not exposed to sunlight, due to her photophobia

Doctors believe that her melatonin levels are affected and therefore she is unable to sleep well at night.

Nina loves all things bird related

She and other children with rare conditions are taking part in the Rare Project

Which is created by photographer Ceridwen Hughes who set up Same but Different.

It is important to reach as many people as possible regarding rare conditions, so that it no longer becomes a taboo subject, but something that is embraced, explored and understood by the public

Leading to greater acceptance of the need to accommodate those who have rare conditions, with empathy, humanity and more resources to cover their special needs