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Video: High School Basketball Player Josh Borrelli Must Tan Every Day to Treat Disease

Doctors always tell us to avoid tanning beds and protect our skin from the sun, as UV exposure promotes premature aging and skin cancer. 

But doctors are telling a Shawnee High School basketball player to do the exact opposite. 

Josh Borrelli, a senior at the Medford, New Jersey school, has a skin condition called Mucha-Habermann. According to Yahoo, this disorder is extremely rare and causes lesions to develop all over.

Borrelli knew something was wrong when he woke up one morning in 8th grade with red spots all over his body. He went to see a doctor who was shocked by the boy's rash, saying it was the first or second case he's seen in his 40 years of practice. 

Males are more susceptible to the autoimmune disease, and it occurs more often in childhood, specifically between the ages of five and 10. 

Borrelli was believed to be the only person in the US to have the disease when he was diagnosed. 

"This disease is so rare that most dermatologists don't see it in their entire practice," Dr. Doris Day, clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Medical, said. "It's something that we read about but don't see."

Once Borrelli entered high school, the disease went into remission, but shortly returned once he started his senior season. 

Doctors chose to treat Borrelli's case with a different medication, and also told him to make daily visits to the tanning salon, as UV rays help treat the sores. 

Borrelli was scared the first time he entered the tanning salon. 

"My dad went with me the first couple of times to the tanning salon because I was a bit nervous," he explained. It didn't take long for the tanning sessions to clear up his skin. 

Doctors tell Borrelli he can not miss a single day of tanning as the disease could come back at any time and cause life-threatening complications. 

Now, the only thing different about Borrelli's skin is a bronze glow, making it look as if he just returned from a tropical vacation. 

His tanning hasn't gotten in the way of his games, either. "If anything it's probably helped," Borelli said. "There's people out there worse off than I am so I'm real lucky."

He averages nearly 20 points per game and is two points away from scoring 1,000 points in his career. 

Borrelli also has a group of dedicated fans who don "Fear the Tan" t-shirts at his games. 

"It's a tough situation and it's been very challenging for him but I've seen him rise to the occasion," Borrelli's father, David Borrelli, said. 


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