When Lizzie Velasquez discovered a YouTube video of herself entitled ‘World’s Ugliest Woman’ she decided not to let it define her.
The video had garnered millions of views and many negative comments but the 24-year-old Texan has since transformed herself into a motivational speaker and author, with her Ted Talk “How Do YOU Define Yourself” reaching 4 million views.
Lizzie was born with an extremely rare genetic condition which only three people in the world suffer from, the condition prevents her from gaining weight and she is blind in her right eye.
Her condition is similar to Progeria, another rare genetic disease which causes aspects of aging to manifest at a very early stage.
Shockingly some YouTube users had commented that Lizzie should “Please just do the world a favor – put a gun to your head and kill yourself.”
Velasquez credits the support of her parents with helping her to rise above the cyber abuse and to channel her energy into delivering a successful talk a TEDXAustin last month.
Interspersed throughout her moving speech were witty comments that showed her optimistic spirit.
It’s clear from the talk that Lizzie has overcome many obstacles and her powerful message encourages all of us to think about what really defines us as a person.