OCTOBER 29 - LIZZIE VELÁSQUEZ
October may be National Bullying Prevention Month, but for Lizzie Velásquez, combating bullying and empowering others is an everyday way of life. As a teenager, the 26 year-old author and motivational speaker was called “The World’s Ugliest Woman” in a YouTube video. Brutal comments left on the clip suggested that the world would be a better place without her, even going so far as to suggest methods for committing suicide.
Though she was initially devastated by reactions to the video, Velásquez took this as an opportunity to help others by telling her story. She suffers from an incredibly rare congenital disease that leaves her incapable of gaining weight. She is blind in her right eye - with limited vision in the other - and has a weak immune system.
Beyond speaking engagements, writing three books and appearing in the 2015 documentary A Brave Heart, Velásquez has advocated for anti-bullying legislation to be put in place, traveling to Washington to speak with lawmakers and convince them to push a long-delayed bill through.