Sarah Atwell is a normal 17-year-old girl — except she has neurofibromatosis, a debilitating uncurable condition that causes tumors to grow on her face.
The story of a teenager from Canada who endured cruel teasing due to her disfigurement is about to be revealed.
Sarah Atwell, a 17-year-old from Nova Scotia, has suffered from neurofibromatosis since she was eight months old. The incurable condition caused a large tumor to grow on the side of her face.
The tumors started when she was a young girl, and though she’s undergone three surgeries on her eye and three surgeries on her face, one side of her remains swollen with tumors.
She has endured numerous surgeries, but the hardest part of her life has been dealing with bullying at school.
She was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis when she was eight months old.
“I was in grade three and people were calling me names like ‘fat face’ and ‘ugly’ and were pushing me around,” Sarah told ABC News. “They said I had a disease. Most of the time, I just walked away and didn’t say much to them.”
The Canadian teenager endured bullying at school for years.
Supportive messages flooded in from around the world and Discovery decided to document her story in a special, which will air next month.
Sarah told her story when she posted a video on Facebook.
After her most recent surgery, Sarah has newfound optimism.
“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,” she told ABC News.
She explained her condition in the video.
Discovery has kept Sarah’s physical change since the surgery a closely guarded secret.
“In terms of actual details we probably want to be a little more ambiguous about it so people get to see it when they watch the episode,” Discovery’s Jordyn Linsk told Medical Daily. “We want people to tune in.”
The 17-year-old revealed the medical efforts to reduce the size of the tumors.
‘The Girl with Half a Face’ will air on Discovery Fit & Health on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
She talked about the pain her condition has caused her.