December 31, 2021
As 2021 ends, a British family is celebrating a very special distinction. The Coventry-based clan officially has received the Guinness World Records title for “most albino siblings,” the London-based authority on all things record-breaking has announced.
People with albinism usually have white hair and very pale skin, because their bodies do not produce the pigment melanin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Melanin is a chemical in the body that determines the color of skin, hair, and eyes. The chemical is also involved in the development of the optical nerve, which may signify impaired eyesight in those with the condition.
The family counts six siblings affected by the genetic condition: Naseem Akhtar, Ghulam Ali, Haider Ali, Muqadas Bibi, Musarat Begum; and the youngest, Mohammed Rafi.
“Achieving a Guinness World Records is amazing. Finally, that uniqueness that we were born with and, perhaps, our story will inspire others,” says oldest daughter Naseem, who works as an NHS rehabilitation officer and is the “mother figure” of this close-knit clan.
They are proud of themselves and of their tight relationship, and work extensively to educate people on the condition. “One blessing.” Naseem says in a statement issued by Guinness World Records, “was that our albinism made us closer than other siblings because we all shared something different, very unique.”
All the siblings are affected by albinism, a genetic condition that they inherited from their parents, Pakistani-born couple Aslam Parvez and Shameem Akhtar. “It’s a condition that both parents have to carry for it to present in the offspring.”
As explained by Ghulam Ali, during their childhood and school years, the siblings all faced bullying and stigma. “During school and college, when we were quite young, we always sort of kept to ourselves together. We did experience being bullied or being sworn at.”
However, they confronted the hate and ignorance by educating others and sticking together as one, finding support and love in the family. And now they have gained global recognition.
Research contact: @GWR