Curtain opener for Andrea: sunlight at last - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Curtain opener for Andrea: sunlight at last


CHULA VISTA, CALIFORNIA (NBC) -- Something remarkable happened in early December inside a home near San Diego, California.  A teenager named Andrea opened her bedroom curtains.

Think that doesn't sound like such a big deal?  Wait until you hear her story.  The curtains at the home are always closed. Always. 17 year old Andrea's life depends on it.

As a baby her parents noticed she'd get freckles after a day at the beach.  It took doctors more than a year to figure out she has Xeroderma Pigmentosum, or X-P.

Her body cannot repair damage to the dna in the skin caused by the sun's uv rays.  There are only 250 known cases.  Andrea's had countless skin cancers removed. She can only go outside when it's dark.

"It was a little bit hard because when I go out, people will stare at me and stuff like that, and I was like why are they staring at me but then I got it and I was okay with it," Andrea said.

Mother Michele Milota carries a light meter everywhere because she understands Andrea's very rare genetic condition.  Her daughter Aimee has X-P.

"Minutes of sun exposure can cause third degree burns and premature skin cancer," Michele Milota said.

Now, Gregg McKay is here to make Andrea's life a lot brighter.  He's installing special film on every window in the house. It blocks 99.9% of uv rays, a $2,000 dollar job his company Nu-Vue is doing for free.

"I think this is probably one of the most rewarding jobs we've ever done," Gregg McKay said.

He begins with Andrea's room, where three layers of shades have always covered the windows.

"I have never like opened the windows and felt the sun," Andrea said.  "I can open the curtains now and I can feel the sun. This is so cool."

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