Girl With Severe Facial Deformity Gives Bullies a Piece of Her Mind (VIDEO)

Inspiring 25

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

behavior, body image, bullies, family, friends, health, inspiring teens, news, school


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Stephanie Isaac

Neurofibromatosis is more common than you think

1 in 3000 people are born with this condition

I have a very mild form

Kudos to her ...

But BTW she didn't develop it at eight months

She was born with it...

kaffe... kaffedrikke

I blame the parents when kids behave this way. We are becoming atrocious.

Todd Vrancic

It probably manifested at eight months.

adamat34 adamat34

Why are we.looking at this as exploitative? Good for her for sharing her story. Im sure it wasnt easy.

My son, who is 15 stood up for a boy with downs at schook last year to retrieve his back pack when this idiot took it from the boy....he got in troubke for the fight that followed, but yoy know what, I couldn't be more proud!!! To parents whos children are bullies, crack their asses! My son was wrong to physically fight another boy. But you know no one else did anything ,he did the right thing. The bully hasnt pulled any crap since and my son made a friend for life. Teach your children to be kind and thankful they are not suffering from some of the afflictions kids sometimes have.

Princess Prime

The thing is this explains something that many people may not otherwise understand. A friend of mine has a son who has a feeding tube in his stomach. He has a condition that makes it impossible for his body to store sugars for later use. This means that he has to eat food even when he is sleeping. Once he starts Kinder, it'll be interesting because he'll have to leave to get his sugar checked and possibly be forced to eat food. His mother would love it if someone would do a video about this because it'd help explain things to other teachers and school nurses.

Vickie Mamakat Pelsor

This is not exploitative if she is willing to share her story. Big Hugs and Blessings, Sarah! :)

@ adamat34 - Kudos to your son & KUDOS to you as well. I don't condone physical fighting either but WAY to go for raising a confident and courages son! Well done!

Katha... Katharine205

I think when things are brought out in the open and others are educated about it then it helps.  With her getting her story out in the open and discussing it then it makes it less of an elephant in the room and helps others to be more comfortable with it.  They don't have to speculate, they know what's going on with her.  Not that not knowing is a reason to bully.

elenka elenka

Awwww my heart goes out to her! Love her!

nonmember avatar freespirit

She is so beautiful... I am so sick of media portraying something else. Guess what???? Only 0.03% of women can be super models....

Ashley Crouse

Some people are and always will be complete assholes. At least she took a stand and tried to explain what has happened to her. She couldn't control it. She was born with it and it began to manifest. People who are completely healthy or have no real issues to deal, some not all, think it's okay to be mean or put down people who are born with certain diseases or disabilities. It's not better for people who do not show outward signs either. They just get called lazy and "entitled" isntead of ugly or other names because of appearance.

I don't think it's being exploited if she is willing to share her story. I'm glad she is. She is strong for it and I can' t imagine having to go through something like that.

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