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Lizzie Velasquez - 'Ugly' or 'Strong and a true Fighter'??? by Priyanka ,  Jul 19, 2013

Twenty-three-year-old Lizzie Velasquez was born without any adipose tissue -- meaning she has no fat on her body.

As a result, she weighs just 58 pounds, even though she eats as many as 60 times a day, the Daily Mail reported. she has been the subject of cyberbullying and stares when she walks out in public, she recently revealed to Dr. Drew Pinsky on HLN.

Some cyberbullies even dubbed her the "ugliest woman in the world," because of her appearance due to her medical condition, she said.

Elizabeth Ann Velásquez, (born 13 March 1989) known as Lizzie Velásquez is an American woman whose extremely rare medical condition has led her to become an author and motivational speaker.
The eldest of three children born to Rita and Guadalupe Velásquez,[1] Lizzie was born in Austin, Texas on 13 March 1989.[2] Born four weeks prematurely, her birth weight was only 2 pounds 11 ounces.[3][4] Her age was reported as 23 in September 2012, a time when she was nearing graduation from Texas State University[3] majoring in communication studies.[5] Hers is a Catholic family and she has spoken out in terms of her belief in a concept of a God which has "blessed me with the greatest blessing of my life, which is my syndrome".

"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."

Back in 2010, The Telegraph reported that Velasquez consumes 5,000 to 8,000 calories a day -- eating food every 15 minutes. But because of the condition, the Texas State University in San Marcos student has never weighed much more than 60 pounds, she wrote in the description of her book that came out earlier this year, titled "Be Beautiful, Be You."

Velasquez's condition is extremely rare; she is just one of three people in the entire world to have it, she noted in her book description.

She has zero percent body fat, and has never weighed more than 60 pounds. Although not anorexic, she is unable to gain weight[8] and is required to eat many small meals throughout the day.[9] Her daily energy intake of about 5000 kilocalories[8] compares with the US average of 3770.[10] She is blind in her right eye which began to cloud over when she was four years of age,[11] and has limited vision in the other.[7] She has a weak immune system.[12] Her condition is similar to many other conditions, especially progeria. However, her condition is not terminal. Involved medical researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have expressed the opinion that it may be a form of neonatal progeroid syndrome which at least has spared her healthy bones, organs and teeth. It is thought she should be able to conceive naturally without passing the condition to her children.[4]
She has some progeroid physical characteristics, such as the pointed nose and already aging skin, but she has additional problems beyond that diagnostic classification. Lizzie Velasquez has spoken out against bullying.
The Telegraph reported that doctors believe she may have something 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. It is characterized by wrinkled skin, not much fat, a large head, a face that looks aged and visible veins in the scalp.

"I think the biggest things I have to deal with is constantly people staring at me as soon as I walk into a room," Velasquez told Dr. Drew. "Recently, it's been a lot of adults I've been having to deal with who will slowly walk in front of me and turn their heads, and look me up and down. So the stares are what I'm really dealing with in public right now."

But "instead of just sitting by and watching these people judge me, I'm starting to want to go up to these people and introduce myself, or give them my card, and say, 'Maybe you should stop staring and start learning.'"

She has been ridiculed, stared at in the street and called 'the world's ugliest woman' by insensitive cyber bullies.

But, after years of misery and self doubt, Lizzie Velasquez says she can finally shrug off the hurtful comments about her looks as 'just words'.

Miss Velasquez, from Austin, Texas, was born without adipose tissue - meaning she has no body fat and, despite eating up to 60 small meals a day, remains at a delicate 4.4stone (58lbs).

The rare condition still baffles doctors and is thought to affect just two other people worldwide. 

Miss Velazquez has now written a second book about her struggle to be accepted and hopes it will help others in a similar position.

In Be Beautiful, Be You the 23-year-old college senior shares advice on being unique, how to make and keep good friends and how to deal with bullying and negativity.

Speaking to Dr Drew Pinsky on Tuesday night about her experiences, Miss Velasquez said when cyber bullies first started attacking her online it was hard.

Rare: Miss Velasquez was born without any adipose tissue meaning she has no fat and, despite eating up to 60 small meals a day, remains at a delicate 4.4stone (58lbs)Rare: Miss Velasquez was born without any adipose tissue meaning she has no fat and, despite eating up to 60 small meals a day, remains at a delicate 4.4stone (58lbs)

Rare: Miss Velasquez was born without any adipose tissue, meaning she has no body fat and, despite eating up to 60 small meals a day, remains at a delicate 4.4stone (58lbs)

E SYNDROME SO RARE IT REMAINS UNDIAGNOSED

Lizzie Velasquez was bornwithout adipose tissue, meaning she has no body fat and, despite eating up to 60 small meals a day, remains at a delicate 4.4stone (58lbs).

Her syndrome is so rare that to this day it remains undiagnosed. Besides Miss Velasquez there are only two other people in the world known to suffer from the condition.

The main symptom is the inability to gain weight. Miss Velasquez is also blind in one eye and has limited vision in the other.

The 23-year-old says her condition is particularly puzzling because it takes on aspects of other syndromes, including progeria.

Miss Velasquez says she has the pointed nose, small mouth and ageing skin of someone with progeria but her syndrome is not though to be terminal.

As she says on her website her condition is 'just one big mystery', but she remains hopeful that one day doctors will discover just what it is and how to treat it.

Eventually Miss Velasquez realised the people issuing the hurtful comments online were just cowards hiding behind a computer screen.

'At the end of the day, these are just words,' Miss Velasquez told Dr Drew. 'If they are so proud, then they should show their face.'

When asked how she deals with being constantly stared at in the street Miss Velasquez said: 'I'm starting to want to go up to these people and introduce myself or give them my card and say, "Hi, I'm Lizzie - maybe you should stop staring and start learning".'

Miss Velasquez also revealed she does not have any desire to look like a beautiful celebrity.

She said: 'I feel I'm really glad I don't look like the celebrities out there who are beautiful, because there are a lot of stereotypes attached to that.

'People think "she's so pretty, she must be really dumb". Since I don't look like that it's better because people can get to know the real me.'

Miss Velasquez was born four weeks prematurely weighing just 2lb 10oz. Doctors found there was minimal amniotic fluid protecting her in the womb.

'They told us they had no idea how she could have survived,' Miss Velasquez's mother Rita, 45, a church secretary, said.

'We had to buy dolls' clothes from the toy store because baby clothes were too big.' Doctors could not make a diagnosis so they prepared Miss Velasquez's parents for the worst.

'They told us she would never be able to walk, talk or have a normal life,' said her mother, who has two other children with Miss Velasquez's father Lupe - both children are of average height and weight.

Despite the grim prognosis Miss Velasquez's brain, bones and internal organs developed normally but she was always very small.

At the age of two she was still only 15lbs - the same as the average five-month-old baby.

Born with two brown eyes, when Miss Velasquez was four the right began to cloud and change hue. Doctors then discovered she had gone blind in that eye.

'They still don't know why it happened but now I have one blue and one brown eye.'

Miss Velasquez's case has fascinated doctors all over the world and she is part of a genetic study run by Professor Abhimanyu Garg at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Support: Miss Velasquez with her supportive family, mother Rita, father Lupe, brother Chris and sister Marima. No one else in her family has the syndrome

Support: Miss Velasquez with her supportive family, mother Rita, father Lupe, brother Chris and sister Marima. No one else in her family has the syndrome

Professor Garg and his team now believe Miss Velasquez may have a form of Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome (NPS), which causes accelerated ageing, fat loss from the face and body, and tissue degeneration. People with PRS often have triangular and prematurely aged faces with a pointy nose.

He said: 'I am aware of a small number of people that have similar conditions to Lizzie but each case is slightly different.

'We cannot predict what will happen to Lizzie in the future, as the medical community are yet to document older people with NPS.

'However Lizzie is lucky to have healthy teeth, organs and bones so the outlook is good. We will continue to study her case and learn from her.'

Miss Velasquez doesn't take medication but she relies on vitamin supplements and iron to stay healthy.  It is thought she should be able to conceive naturally without passing the condition to her children.

Lizzie Velasquez is just getting used to the endless stares. "The World's Ugliest Woman," as she was dubbed in school, is 23 years old and reportedly weighs only 58 pounds while standing 5 feet 2 inches tall.

The Texas State University senior said, "I can't gain weight," in an interview with ABC News.

Velasquez was explaining how she has a rare syndrome that blocks her body from storing fat. Even though Velasquez tries to eat as much as possible, she's just skin and bones.

"My stomach is so small that I can't eat that much," she said. "So about 30 minutes after eating, I'm ready to eat again. I snack a lot just to keep my energy up."

The cause of her condition is unknown, and only two other people in the world are known to have it, ABC News reported.

"She's missing all of her adipose tissue," said Dr. Atul Chopra, a resident in medical genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "We just don't know why."

"Once I got to about age 13, I kind of got tired of it," said Velasquez.

"I realized I don't really want a cure for this syndrome. If a doctor found a magic pill or some surgery that would help me gain weight, I wouldn't want it. All the struggles I've had made me who I am today."

Velasquez was heavily bullied in school, and revealed that her elementary-school years were the worse.

"I felt like some sort of monster," she said, recalling her first day of kindergarten. "I never told anyone how bad I was being picked on because I was embarrassed. When I would take a bath at night, that's when I would cry."

But she didn't let the bullying get her down. Instead Velasquez wrote two books: "Be Beautiful, Be You" and "Lizzie Beautiful." Now the young woman delivers motivational speeches to young students across Texas. She even created a YouTube video titled "It Gets Better," which has had nearly 2.5 million views since she posted it in 2010.

"I tell everyone, 'Even though you don't have my syndrome, you might be able to relate to the struggles I've had,'" she said, explaining how talking about bullying is therapeutic for her, too. "It's kind of the grown-up version of my dad coming to class."

The motivational speaker says in the video, "Any form of bullying really does hurt."

She then explains that some websites even suggest that she should kill herself because of the way that she looks, but Velasquez is willing to take the bullying from strangers if she is able to stop bullying overall.

"I weigh myself regularly and if I type at least one pound, very happy. Thus I eat every 15-20 minutes to maintain their strength," - says Lizzie. Most of all she loves crisps, sweets, chocolate, pizza, chicken, and indulge in donuts, ice cream and pasta.

Lizzie Velasquez (Lizzie Velasquez)

Scientists say - it is a great luck that with this disorder in Lizzie healthy teeth, organs and bones. They believe that Lizzie may suffer from accelerated aging and tissue degeneration.

Lizzie Velasquez (Lizzie Velasquez)

Lizzie herself, meanwhile, was not discouraged. "I'm OK, just a very, very small," - she said.

Lizzie Velasquez (Lizzie Velasquez)

The following excerpts are from Lizzie's website: http://www.aboutlizzie.com

THE SYNDROME

The syndrome that I am living with is so rare that it is to this day undiagnosed. There are only 3 people in the world including myself who have it. Amanda, the oldest of the three is in her 30's and lives with her husband Richard in England.  Abigail the youngest is 15 and lives in Austin as well. I've seen many different research doctors throughout my life and there just aren't any answers.  The main symptom of the syndrome is that I'm not able to gain weight. Right now I am 23 years old and only weigh about 60 lbs.  I have zero percent body fat as well.  I'm also blind in one eye and have limited vision in the other.

I eat whatever I want all day long and just can't keep the pounds on.  The syndrome is so puzzling because it fits characteristics of different syndromes but doesn't fit it to the point where I can be diagnosed with a certain one.  For example, one of the big ones is progeria.  I have a lot of the same physical features as kids with progeria.  Like the pointed nose, small mouth, and appearing with aging skin.  The difference is that progeria is terminal and has a lot more complications.

The small amount of information that I just wrote about is literally the only information my doctors know about my syndrome.  It's just one big mystery and hopefully one day there will be a miracle and an answer to all our questions.

MY PARENTS

 My parents are my world and I look up to them more and more everday.  They are without a doubt my biggest heroes.  They will do anything for my family at the drop of a hat.  My parents have taught me so much in life, to never give up on my dreams and to always reach for the stars.  I hope to one day be the amazing mom just like mine.  My dad is so funny and always knows exactly what to say to make me laugh.  I love them both more than words can say.

MY SISTER MARINA

My little sister Marina is 18 and I love her to death! Even though she is younger than me she is already taller than me and always says she is the older one! She is a very good athlete and is also in the band.  Her and my little brother are both very protective of me, especially when we are in public.  They don't like it when people stare at me.  I love the random things she says sometimes and now that she is getting older we have more in common.  I keep telling her to follow in my footsteps and become a cheerleader and she looks at me like I'm crazy! She wants to do her own thing! She will be a freshmen at Texas State University this Fall! Go Bobcats!!

MY BROTHER CHRIS

I just got to say I love my brother! He's only 15 years old but I can just sit and have a conversation with him about anything in the world and I can just sit there and laugh at the random things he has to say! It's so exciting watching him grow up and learning more about his personality.  He has such a good outlook on life and is always looking to make any situation fun!

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