Sarah Atwell is a 17-year-old Canadian who suffers from a rare condition called neurofibromatosis. She developed the incurable disease when she was eight months old and has since dealt with headaches, blurred vision, and changes in her appearance, which include the development of a large tumor on one side of her face. Despite having to endure six surgeries, her most painful experience has been coping with the constant bullying that has persisted throughout her childhood and adolescence because of her facial deformity. But this brave girl found a way to take back her life from the heartless bullies who have tormented her.
Instead of hiding from the world, Sarah put herself out there by creating a video that she posted to her Facebook -- it has since been removed from the site -- in which she holds up index cards that tell the story of how she may look happy on the outside, but isn't because she has been bullied since fifth grade.
She writes: "I have a tumor, that's all..and people don't understand." She then describes how others have called her names like "fat face," "b***h," "slut," and "ugly" and how "it hurts."
This beautiful girl admits that there are days when she "loves life" and that she is thankful for her friends and family. She says she is going to try and be strong until the bullying, she hopes, one day stops.
Sarah's video was shared hundreds of times and she received countless messages of support from both strangers, and even apologetic peers who had once bullied her. Her honesty also caught the attention of TV producers from Discovery Fit & Health, who are airing a special about her life on December 18 called The Girl With Half a Face.
Sarah is truly an inspiration to other young people who struggle to be accepted by peers. The teen says suicide is not an option for her -- thank God -- because she values the support of her mother, father, and brother far too much. This should serve as a reminder to parents of how strong bonds with our children can ease their pain, no matter how powerless we may feel when someone hurts them.
Here's a closer look into Sarah's life:
Do you think it's okay for producers to share Sarah's story or do you feel she is being exploited?
Image via YouTube