Jasmine Beever sucked and chewed her hair for years. She didn’t know a hairball was forming in her stomach.
And now, the 16-year-old is dead.
Jasmine, from Skegness, England, became ill at school on Sept. 7, reports British news outlet Lincolnshire Live. After she was rushed to the hospital, doctors were able to resuscitate her for 15 minutes, but she died later that evening, according to British media.
“We will remember her as a friendly, positive, caring and lively girl who brought a smile to everyone’s face,” Jo Edwards, Jasmine’s former school principal, told Lincolnshire Live.
An autopsy found that Jasmine had a hairball in her stomach that had become infected and caused peritonitis, an inflammation of the thin membrane lining the inner abdominal wall.
“Jasmine collapsed at college, she went home to bed and then later she came out in blotches, and the rest is sad news.” Donna Marshall, the mother of Jasmine’s best friend, Billie-Jo Ashwell, told the news outlet.
“Jasmine was amazing. She was one of those kids where she would make a sad face in the room smile. She was so bubbly … she was such a darling. I am going to miss her terribly. We are all in shock.”
On Tuesday Marshall wrote on her Facebook page that Jasmine “had been sucking/chewing her hair for years.
“This has caused a Furball in the abdomen (stomach). The furball has got infected which has caused an Ulcer and the ulcer burst causing all her Vital Organs to shut down.
“Please Please PLEASEEEEEE!!!! Warn your children of the Dangers of sucking their hair – they can swallow it without knowing. We really don’t want anyone else to suffer this way. Please Share so parents are warned.”
Reporting by The Daily Mail suggested Jasmine could have had “Rapunzel Syndrome,” a rare medical condition where hairballs clog up the digestive tracts of people who suck on and swallow their own hair.
It’s named after the long-haired Grimm’s fairy tale heroine.
Described as a serious complication of trichotillomania – the disorder in which someone compulsively pulls out their own hair – the syndrome mostly occurs in children and adolescents. Fewer than 120 cases have shown up in medical literature, according to The Daily Mail.
In January, doctors in India removed a hairball from the stomach of a 13-year-old girl who, unbeknownst to her parents, was pulling out and eating her hair. They thought she was just smelling her hair, according to the Times of India.
But she had not been eating well for nearly a year and by the time of her surgery weighed only half her normal weight. Her parents took her to see a doctor when she began vomiting.
Surgeons removed a huge wad of hair that was filling up three-fourths of her stomach.
Jasmine’s childhood friend, Billie-Jo, started a JustGiving crowdfunding page to help the family. So far the campaign has raised nearly $1,500.
“Anyone that knew Jasmine knew what a wonderful, caring girl she was. She had a real zest for life,” Billie-Jo wrote on the JustGiving page.
“There was never a gloomy face around Jaz because she would go out of her way to make you smile.”
Jasmine reportedly attended her grandfather’s funeral just days before she died.