Zeng Yushan is 20 years old, but appears to be a child.
Yushan, who was born in China, suffered from a tumor on her pituitary gland when she was seven years old. The pituitary gland normally releases growth hormones, but in Yushan's case, she stopped growing.
"If you've got a pituitary tumor, it can stop growth hormones being released," Ashley Grossman, professor of endocrinology at Oxford University, told the Daily Mail.
"You end up like a Tom Thumb person that looks small, but is perfectly formed," added Grossman. "Without treatment this woman won't grow at all, but she would age normally. Some say such children may even live longer than expected, but that is uncertain. But in China, treatment for pituitary problems is not routinely available unless you pay for it. Pituitary patients often don't get the help they need."
Zeng's parents could not afford the medical treatment she needed, and divorced.
Zeng ended up with her father Yul Wei, who was seriously ill. Father and daughter could not pay their bills and took to the streets in different cities begging for money and food. Due to her illness, Zeng appeared to be a child beggar.
After Zeng's father died in 2013 from cancer, a kind-hearted couple took Zeng into their home.
Guo Liu says that he and his wife were shocked to find the additonal ailments that Zeng suffered from, due to her homelessness. The couple says Zeng is getting medical care, but has the mental ability of a child.
"We plan to take her after the Spring Festival to a doctor in the capital Beijing who might be able to help her," Gui told The Mirror.
"For the moment she is okay with us, but we want to try and get into a position where she might be able to do something for herself when we are no longer able to look after her," added Gui.
While artificial growth hormones are usually given to children who suffer from this rare medical condition, Zeng may be too old for that treatment. She wants to attend school, but none will accept her because of her real age.
Sources: Daily Mail, The Mirror
Image Credit: Daderot