Sarah Atwell was just eight months old when her stepfather Kenny noticed that her face was beginning to look different.
Doctors diagnosed Sarah with a rare condition called neurofibromatosis, that consisted of a tumor growing on the right side of her face.
As the years passed, the tumor grew bigger and bigger—but doctors simply refused to help Sarah with what was required.
It didn’t matter which hospital the Nova Scotia, Canada native visited—no doctor would perform surgery to remove the tumor from Sarah’s face.
Wherever Sarah and her family turned, doctors gave her the same mortifying message: removing the tumor would be too risky and Sarah should continue to live with her condition.
Over the years, the tumor continued to grow. Sarah suffered from frequent headaches, her vision became impaired, and she endured constant bullying in school.
“They didn’t understand it was a tumor and thought it was some kind of horrible disease they could catch,” Sarah’s mom told ABC News.
Finally at 16-years-old, Sarah couldn’t take it any longer—and she made a viral video to let the world know how she felt.
In the video, which she posted online, Sarah wrote a series of messages on cue cards, including the following:
“I have had many surgeries, but I can’t notice the difference. I have very few friends I trust. I wish people could understand there is nothing wrong with me. I get called names all the time… bitch, slut, fat face, fat, ugly—it hurts. Sometimes I wish I looked different. Maybe one day the bullying will stop, but until then I’m going to be STRONG. I try my best to not let things bug me… but it’s just so hard!”
The video went viral. When Sarah woke up the next day, she had received thousands of messages from supportive people, who explained how beautiful and brave she was and how she had inspired them.
But that’s not all. The video also reached a doctor who offered to help her with the surgery that other doctors had refused to perform.
In the end, Sarah finally had the operation.
“It’s pretty awesome. I am pretty sure most of it is gone except a little bit around the eyes. The doctor said he could not be sure if it would come back or not,” Sarah told ABC News.
Meanwhile, Sarah hopes that her video can be helpful for other young people.
“If I could stand up to bullying, and if another kid who was bullied sees me and thinks they can talk to someone and think, ‘I can stand up for myself,’ then I have helped,” she told ABC News.
Watch a video clip of Sarah here:
Sarah is truly brave soul who stood up and refused to be defeated by bullies or the doctors who wouldn’t help her. Please share her inspirational story with your friends!
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