As soon as Lizzie Velásquez went to kindergarten, she realized that she was different.
And it was also the first time she was bullied.
When she was born in 1989, Lizzie Velásquez from Austin, Texas, weighed only 2 pounds 11 ounces and her face looked different than the other babies in the maternity ward.
Her doctors diagnosed her with an extremely rare genetic disorder called Marfan syndrome, which only a few people around the world have. The extremely rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, hence affecting her appearance; only three such cases are known in the world.
The condition also causes her to age faster than people without the disorder, and it left her blind in one eye.
In kindergarten, Lizzie started getting bullied, and throughout her childhood, she was told that her face was “disgusting.”
“At the time, I thought everyone looked like me. I didn’t recognize or tell that they didn’t look like me,” she told the Daily Mail.
But Lizzie suffered her worst case of bullying when she was 16.
One day, she was online and came across a horrible video on YouTube. Some despicable person had made a video about her and put it online. In the video, which quickly racked up millions of views, the person dubbed her “the world’s ugliest woman.”
Terrible words for a person to hear.
“I felt like someone was putting a fist through the computer screen and physically punching me. I bawled my eyes out,” she said to Today.
Lizzie says what her world collapsed around her when she saw the video. She read all the comments and not even one person had a single nice thing to say.
It’s crazy to think about how thousands of people could sit behind their computers and bully a 16-year-old girl suffering from a severe illness. How could those people sleep at night?
For most people, all this hatred would have been tough to endure. But Lizzie isn’t most people. She showed all her haters how strong she is. In her entire life, she has to eat a high-calorie diet frequently to keep her body’s energy levels up.
Today, she is 30 years old and is a successful business woman. She travels the world lecturing on her illness and her life.
She has her own YouTube channel with over 851,000 followers and she uses her platform to fight bullying.
“This is my purpose. This is what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life. I like to think that I’m not only telling my story, I’m telling everyone’s story,” Lizzie told the Daily Mail.
All the bullies and haters who wrote bad things about Lizzie have failed to keep her down. Because Lizzie showed them that she is stronger than them — and she’s much more successful today than they will ever be.
“You are beautiful and smart and can accomplish anything,” Lizzie said her mother and father used to tell her.
“They loved me in the face of so many unknowns,” Lizzie said.
Lizzie has written a best-selling book about her life, she’s graduated from university and she has a family and a successful career.
“No matter what we look like or what size we are, at the end of the day we are all human. I ask that you keep that in mind the next time you see a viral meme of a random stranger. At the time you might find it hilarious but the human in the photo is probably feeling the exact opposite. Spread love not hurtful words via a screen,” she posted on her Facebook page.