Lizzie Velasquez is leading the crusade against bullying. Dubbed the “worlds ugliest woman” by bullies at the tender age of 17, Lizzie knows firsthand how painful words can be. But those hateful bullying words didn’t stop Lizzie from rising above and making it her life’s mission to raise awareness around the need for anti-bullying legislature.
In the last 9 years, since those cruel statements and pictures were plastered all over the Internet, Lizzie has appeared on numerous programs, started a Youtube channel (which as of early 2016 has over 500,000 followers), written an autobiography plus an additional two books geared towards adolescents, and given a TEDx talk titled, “How Do You Define Yourself”, helping to spread the anti-bullying message and the need for reform.
If you’re wondering just who Lizzie is, she was born weighing only 2 pounds, 11 ounces with a rare congenital disease called Marfan syndrome and lipodystrophy, a disorder that causes premature aging and impedes her from generating body fat. While the condition is not fatal, it has put a strain on her organs, blinded her in one eye and limited her vision in the other.
While life hasn’t been easy for Lizzie, she has beaten the odds. Doctors were convinced she would never talk, walk or have a normal life of any kind. Today, at the age of 26 and a weight of 64 pounds – the most she can weigh, even though she consumes up to 8,000 calories per day and eats every 15 minutes – Lizzie is college graduate, a motivational speaker, and an inspiration to all, bullied or not.
Lizzie is baffled that there is no anti-bullying law in place in the US. So she has headed up a campaign for the Safe Schools Improvement Act, a federal bill that would mandate schools prohibit bullying and other forms of harassment in their codes of conduct, as well as include these incidents in annual school safety reports when they do occur.
Her determination for this policy change in schools is chronicled in a documentary titled “A Brave Heart”. Since its release in September 2015, her cause and has gained momentum and has attracted overwhelming support from her followers and celebrities alike.
Lizzie hopes that through her relentless passion, her parents’ incredible support, and names like Katie Couric, Dr. Oz, and Kylie Jenner, the Act will pass and kids will one day soon face less bullying in school and on social media.
To track Lizzie’s progress and follow her on Twitter, check out https://twitter.com/littlelizziev?lang=en