Adam Pearson, a well-known presenter who showed off his cooking skills on Celebrity MasterChef recently, has a twin brother called Neil. They were both diagnosed with the same disability, but it affects them differently.

Both born in Croydon, Adam and Neil’s mom would sometimes get them mixed up as they looked identical. Just before their fifth birthday, they were diagnosed with the same genetic condition, neurofibromatosis.

As a result, Neil has memory loss and suffers from epilepsy. His brother Adam has been left with a severely disfigured face due to the disease, which they both have type 1 of.

Adam Pearson squeezes lime into bowl using right hand while wearing white MasterChef apron.
Credit: BBC/Shine TV Photographer: Production

Meet Adam’s twin brother

Adam’s twin brother is Neil Pearson, who works as a library assistant. He grew up alongside Adam in Croydon with their parents Marilyn and Patrick. He continues to live in the area today as a single man.

The University of Brighton alumni, who studied information studies, was a former auxiliary assistant at Ashburton Library before he made his move to the library at a medical school, where he has worked since 2009.

Neil, who is now in his 30s, appeared alongside his sibling in the documentary My Amazing Twin on BBC Horizon, which follows their search to find out if anything can be done to stop the disease from destroying their lives.

Neil has the same disability

Neil was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis just before his fifth birthday, similarly to Adam. The diagnosis came after Adam bumped his forehead and the lump failed to go down before he developed tumors on his face.

As per The Mirror, their mother, Marilyn, ended up feeding one of them twice when they were small because she struggled to tell them apart. “I couldn’t understand why Neil was crying and Adam wasn’t interested. And we were looking at some old photos recently and I couldn’t tell them apart in some.”

When Neil did not show any symptoms, Marilyn says she thought he had escaped the condition that disfigured his brother. He has spoken fondly of his brother, whose tumors progressed slowly before he had to have 33 operations.

Adam’s brother said:

Adam was very confident and outgoing as a child so he was able to defend himself. He’s got a good sense if humour which he used to his advantage.

Neil was aware that he could also develop tumors as he got older. He also experienced memory loss, which started in July 1999, when the 14-year-old twins came home and Neil couldn’t remember where he had been.

Neil’s memory loss struggle

Neil is affected by the condition in a different way than Adam. After they had been out with friends at the local youth club, Adam thought his brother was just tired, but his short-term memory never recovered.

Doctors connected the memory loss down to neurofibromatosis. A year later, he was diagnosed with epilepsy, which meant the family was regularly in and out of the hospital with the boys when they were growing up.

He told The Mirror how he copes with memory loss: “I stick to a very precise routine and I do things in a certain order. If I break that order I start asking questions about whether I’ve done things.”

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