Riley McCoy graduation: Her rare skin condition keeps her indoors
Riley McCoy graduation: Her rare skin condition keeps her indoors (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Riley McCoy graduation: Her rare skin condition keeps her indoors.

A teenager with a rare skin condition preventing her from going outside braved the sunlight for one day to attend her high school graduation ceremony.

Riley McCoy stepped out in the daylight wearing a special protective hood so she could receive her diploma alongside peers at Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, southern California.

The 18-year-old was born with xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) – a rare genetic skin condition that leaves suffers extremely sensitive to ultraviolet light.

In Riley’s case, even the smallest amount of sunlight coming into contact with her bare skin could cause severe sunburns, skin blistering and even skin cancer.

However, wearing a UV-safe helmet over under her graduation cap, the teenager was able to join fellow students for the ceremony.

“I was really excited,” Riley told CNN. “Not really nervous, just excited.

“It’s a little bit bittersweet because I’m really sad that I’m leaving everybody.”

To ensure she spent as little time outside as possible, Riley was the last to walk out at the graduation.

She was brought to the stage in a golf cart, and received a standing ovation from students and guests as she arrived.

Around 30 per cent of people diagnosed with XP, including Riley, also experience some form of neurological degeneration.

Less than 40 per cent of people with the disease live beyond the age of 20, although those with a less serious form of the condition can survive into their 40s.

However, Riley has not allowed her illness to dampen her ambitions and now plans to attend community college to study theatre.

“I never thought she’d want to take that kind of risk,” her mother, Pam McCoy said. “But she really insisted she was going to walk with her friends. There was no convincing her.

“We were standing up and the next thing you know all the people around us started standing up too.

“Everyone around us was rooting for her and calling her name. There was such a wave of love in the air.”

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