26 year old Lizzie Velasquez was born with a rare condition called neonatal progeroid syndrome, a condition that prevents her from gaining weight, and gives her an aged appearance.
Cyber bullies unaware of her condition, once branded her ‘The Worlds Ugliest Woman’.
Already a victim of bullying growing up, at age 17 Lizzie came across a YouTube video called, ‘The Worlds Ugliest Woman’, and was shocked to see herself on the 8 second video clip as it started to play.
This video had received over four million views, and showed endless cyber bullies attacking her in the comments section.
The cruel comments included ‘Put a bag on your head when you go out’ – ‘Kill it with fire’ – ‘Please do the world a favor and put a gun to your head, and just kill yourself’.
Understandably Lizzie was heart broken, and cried for many nights to come. Once she got passed this she gained inspiration from the video, and instead of withdrawing from public life she decided to start an anti-bullying campaign.
She now didn’t see her condition as a problem, but as a blessing and a way to help herself, and inspire other people. She launched her own YouTube Channel and has received over 7 million views of her 2013 Ted Talk.
How Do You Define Yourself
By Lizzie Velasquez on TedX in 2013
When Lizzie was born doctors told her parents that she had no amniotic fluid around her (The fluid that usually surrounds a baby to nourish and protect while in the womb), and warned Lizzie will never be able to walk, talk, crawl, think or do anything by herself.
Instead of asking the doctors, ‘Why has our first born child got all these unknown problems’, the Velasquez couple asked to see their child and said, ‘We are going to take her home. We are going to love her and raise her to the best of our abilities’.
Lizzie was brought up in a completely normal way by two parents that unconditionally loved and supported her. She notes this is how she has managed to gain strength and get through the extra struggles her condition has implied on her.
Up until she started kindergarten Lizzie didn’t know she was different. When she first arrived at the kindergarten she went up to a girl smiling. The other girl looked at her as though she was a monster. Lizzie took this as the girl being rude and walked off to find others to play with.
Unfortunately for Lizzie her day got worse, and no one wanted to have anything to do with her. Certainly a big slap of reality for a young child that couldn’t understand why she was treated like this, and she hadn’t done anything to them.
When Lizzie got home she asked her parents why she was different, and why the others didn’t like her. At this point her parents sat her down and told her, ‘The only thing different about you is you are smaller than the other kids and have a syndrome, and it’s not going to define who you are’.
Their advice to her was to go to school, put her head up, smile and to be herself, and people will see you are just like them.
Lizzie suffered a lot of bullying, setbacks and disappointments when growing up, to a degree that most other people don’t experience. Since coming across the cruel You Tube video about her at age 17 years…
Lizzie Continues to Keep Positive about Her Condition & To…
The neonatal progeroid syndrome Lizzie has not only effects her weight and appearance, it also effects her face, muscle tone, heart, bones and has left her blind in her right eye, with impaired vision in her left eye.
Regardless of these setbacks Lizzie remains positive and see’s benefits in these defects…
- Reading glasses – Only half a lense needed, therefore it halves the prescription.
- Rude people – If people are being rude or insulting to her, she can easily ignore them if they are on her right side as her condition makes her unaware of whats around her on her right side.
- No ability to gain weight – No need to go on a diet or go to a gym and can eat as much as she wants.
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Lizzie has written a few books along the way – To View see Lizzie Velasquez Books. You can also keep up with what Lizzie is doing on her You Tube channel.
(Featured image sourced from You Tube)
Article brought to you by Wen Dee (October 2015)
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