New York Daily News - Dr. Gary Goldenberg: "Disfigured Man Speaks out about Pope's Loving Embrace: I felt like I was in Paradise"
Vinicio Riva was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1 when he was 15 years old.
Accustomed to stranger's hostile stares, Riva was shocked when Pope Francis hugged him without hesitation at the Vatican. The disease is genetic and not contagious. Riva's mom and sister were diagnosed with milder forms of it. But according to Gary Goldenberg, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Pathology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the psychological effects of the disease do the most damage. Learn more