Many people assume that Lizzie Velasquez is anorexic. The 21 year-old has a shockingly gaunt frame, weighing only 60 pounds. But the college senior actually consumes over 5,000 calories a day, and can’t gain any more weight.
â€œThey look at me like Iâ€™m a monster. Wherever I go, itâ€™s like I walk with an audience because people are constantly looking at me,â€ Lizzie told TODAYâ€™s Ann Curry.
Lizzie was born about eight weeks premature, at just 2 pounds. She grew slowly and had no body fat.Â Doctors say she has many symptoms of neonatal progeroid syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by premature aging and an extreme lack of fat. There are only a handful of other people in the entire world with her specific symptoms, Lizzie has a triangular face and a sharp, beaklike nose. She also can no longer see out of her right eye.
But despite her challenges, Lizzie has managed to live a normal life. She’s a student atÂ Texas State University in her hometown of Austin, and she has become a motivational speaker. Her new book,Â Lizzie Beautiful: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, will hit shelves later this month.
â€œEvery single day my mission is to get my story out there,” Lizzie said. “People need to know that no matter what you look like or what you go through in your life, you donâ€™t need to be judged because of your outer appearance, and you donâ€™t need to let that stop you. You donâ€™t need to let the negativity hold you back or keep you from living the life you want.”
Amen! What an inspirational woman.