Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

No person should ever be treated differently just because they look different.

Unfortunately, this is something that happens all the time, among both children and adults, and it is never acceptable. Just ask Ilka Brühl, who was born with ectodermal dysplasia, a rare genetic disorder that affected her facial structure.

The German girl was called evil names in school, and in the end wished for a way to make herself invisible. At the same time, she was a fantastic student and ultimately realized that she could help others by telling her own story.

Today, Ilka is a model and published author. Through social media and a podcast she runs, she aims to help encourage people to see their own beauty and accept one another for who they are.

This is her incredible story, and what she looks like today, aged 30.

Now, I want you, the person reading this, to take a moment to reflect on your life at 16. Personally, I have plenty of memories from that time – both good and bad. But overall, it was a time when many things were changing. There were more hormones, an overload of emotions, and sometimes even mental challenges that I had to combat.

Overall, I hope it was a positive time in your life, as it was in mine.

Now, imagine that at 16 years of age, you were called “Freak,” “Alien,” or “Pig Nose.” Just imagine that no one wanted to play with you at school, and when other children saw you, they pointed and laughed.

Most of us have never been subjected to such cruelty. For German girl Ilka Brühl, however, it was an everyday reality.

Ilka was born with a cleft nose and lips. It’s called ectodermal dysplasia, a rare genetic disorder that affects one’s facial structure.

She suffered from the deformity for a long time before undergoing surgery to fix it.

Afterward, though, she came to realize that her looks weren’t defined by her deformity at all. Instead, Ilka realized that beauty could not be created through surgery – and managed to accept her face as it was.

These days, Ilka is a role model for millions of people worldwide. Through her own work, she wants to help others.

Right up to the day she was born, in January 1992, Ilka Brühl’s parents thought their daughter was completely healthy. In fact, she was. However, doctors noticed that the little girl had trouble breathing. The airways in her nose had, for some reason, become blocked.

This meant emergency surgery, and surgeons operated on her cleft palate. By then, it was clearly apparent that something was “different” with little Ilka.

School can be a very harsh place for many children worldwide. Unfortunately, Ilka came to understand that better than most. Children at her school didn’t understand that she was just like everyone else, even if her face looked slightly unusual.

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