My ‘Ninja Turtle baby’ boy was born with a shell — he’s my superhero

James McCallum, 19 months, was given the nickname due to the rare skin condition — which puzzled doctors. According to James’ mother Kaitlyn McCallum, 35, ultrasounds did not reveal anything about the baby’s condition before he was born on Aug. 19, 2021. However, the new mom and her husband Tim, 41, became worried when they noticed James’ back was scabbing and developing lumps.

“It looked kind of like a birthmark but scabbed over in parts — it was a little concerning, as it looked like something was wrong,” Kaitlyn told South West News Service.

When the mark grew — resembling a large mole — his parents took him for tests, waiting months for results.

“The doctors didn’t really know what it was at that point,” Kaitlyn recalled.

“It covered 75% of his back at the start, and it had started to get fattier and more lumpy,” she continued. “It seemed like it was growing.”

James’ lump grew rapidly, becoming so cumbersome for the baby that he had to sleep on his side.

“[It] had become like a turtle shell on his back,” she explained. “He couldn’t put his head down flat because it was so bulky.”

James had his first surgery to remove the nevus in February 2022, first having an MRI on his brain and spine to assess whether it was growing internally.


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