I was deeply touched by a story I saw about an amazing young woman called Lizzie Velasquez on the Sunday program last weekend. It reminded me in many ways of another beautiful woman, Katie Piper , who brings me to tears every time I hear her speak, or learn of the amazing things she is doing with her life after being violently disfigured by an ex partner.
Lizzie is living with a rare illness that is yet unamed and only affects three people in the world. That's about as rare as an illness can get and of course comes with all the complicating factors of being little known, little understood and little researched. The chief side effect of Lizzie's illness is that she cannot, no matter what she eats or how hard she tries, put on weight. This means when out in public she is constantly stared at and mistaken for someone who has anorexia. Like so many people suffering with anorexia, Lizzie is ostracised and judged for her appearance on a daily basis. To add to her difficulties, Lizzie is blind in one eye, has limited vision in the other, and has paper thin skin.
One would likely think that enduring this illness in such an appearance driven society, would see Lizzie hide herself away. Not Lizzie. Despite a lifetime of taunts and teasing she chooses to live her life out in the open every day as a motivational speaker, talking about her illness battles and encouraging people to look beyond what they see on the surface to the real person beneath. Now that's real beauty in action if ever I saw it.
Congratulations beautiful Lizzie on showing all of us how to love, embrace and honour ourselves. You are an inspirational young woman who I am sure to see on Oprah someday soon! To be further inspired by Lizzie's story watch the video below or purchase her book .