At just 24 years old, Lizzie Velasquez has gone through a lot in her life. She is one of three known people in the world who suffer from a rare syndrome. She was born without any adipose tissue, which prevents her from gaining weight and has caused blindness in her right eye. Although she eats as much as 60 times per day, she only weights about 58 lbs and has no fat on her body.
The Telegraph reported that doctors believe she has a condition called Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome. It is a condition that leads to premature aging, but is different from the more common aging disorder, progeria, according to the National Institutes of Health. Doctors are able to characterize it by wrinkled skin, a large head, little fat, and a face that looks aged.
On a daily basis she has to deal with weird stares and comments. When she was in high school, she found a video of herself on YouTube that was titled “World’s Ugliest Woman,” and had over a million views. Instead of dwelling on her troubles, however, Velasquez and used them to help others.
“It’s not easy, I will be the first to tell you it’s not easy,” Velasquez told Dr. Drew. “I may have this outer exterior of people saying, ‘She can handle everything, she’s dealt with this for so long,’ and to be honest, I’m human and of course these things are going to hurt.”
At a TEDX talk in Austin last month, she told viewers how she resolved to take charge of her life by killing the negativity with ambition, and by defining herself on her own terms.
“I’ve had a really difficult life, but that’s OK,” she said. “I’m going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments define me, not my outer appearance.”