"If doctors cannot treat my son it is better that God takes him," says mum of boy with upside down head
12-year-old Mahendra Ahirwar suffers from a rare medical condition which has left his head hanging at a 180-degree angle.
Mahendra's neck is constantly bent and he is restricted to a sitting position, unable to stand or walk, because of his weak spine.
The boy, who is from a village in India's Madhya Pradesh state suffers from a mystery muscle-wasting disease, which has left him too frail to support his own body parts.
His neck muscles are unable to hold his head in place and his limbs have lost almost all muscle tissue
In Brazil 37-year-old Claudio Vieira de Oliveira, who was also born with an upside down head, has become an inspirational public speaker. Full Story HERE
Claudio Vieira de Oliveira
In India 12-year-old Mahendra can just about crawl, but needs help when eating and going to the toilet.
His desperate parents have admitted they would rather he died than continue to suffer.
"I wonder if death is the only treatment left to end his misery”, said his mother Mamta (35).
"It pains me to see him like this, when children of his age are enjoying their lives.”
"It’s heartbreaking. People say all kinds of things but we have stopped to respond to their ridicule but not all behave like this, there are some who help and support us."
Mrs Ahirwar said that her son is forced to sit in the corner of the room for a whole day, which is no life for a young child.
She added: "I have to carry him like a baby everywhere but he is 12-years-old, how will I carry him when he grows even older?
"If doctors cannot treat my son it is better that God takes him."
The couple only noticed their son’s head was starting to hang when he was about six months old.
“At first we thought he was just a little weak and he'd be fine in time, but by his third birthday he wasn't able to keep his head upright at all,” his father Mukesh (40) explained.
"He can move his neck only in three directions. His neck bone is quite strong but cannot hold his head.
"His neck is longer than average size and is growing slowly.
"I don't want him to die but he is losing the battle slowly.
"Being poor doesn't mean you leave your child to die but what can poor parents do."
In 2000 Mahendra was taken to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi for treatment but doctors failed to diagnose his condition.
Doctor Shashidhar Tatavarthy, an ear, nose and throat consultant at Delhi’s Artemis Hospital, believes Mahendra has a muscular disorder.
He said: “This is one of the rarest of rare cases. His condition could be due to a spine anomaly or muscular disorder, but it can only be concluded after a thorough investigation.
Mahendra said that he dreams of studying in a university and moving to a big Indian city..
"I only want to go to school. I want to play and read books,” he said.
"I remain at home and only have to play with my siblings. I know once I get well no-one will tease me."
"Once I get well, I will work and marry," he said.