As a result of the rise of social media, we are continuously exposed to images of people who seem to have ideal appearances; it appears that society has become even more superficial in its evaluation of others.
When complete strangers feel forced to form an opinion about someone based only on how they appear on social media, the world can seem immensely cruel to those of us who don’t fit the stereotypical “perfect” pattern.
Karine de Souza is the only person who is more aware of this. The Brazilian woman has spent her entire life wearing SPF100 sunscreens on her skin because of her unusual skin condition, even while she is inside.
The 33-year-old has Xeroderma Pigmentosum, a condition that puts her at a high risk for developing skin cancer.
Her ”one-in-a-million” condition, which is incurable, means she is highly sensitive to UV rays as she lacks the ability to repair any damage the sun causes to her skin.
Just a few minutes in the sun can mean incredibly painful sunburn for her. Growing up, she was often isolated from the outside world because it was too dangerous for her to spend too much time outside her house.
“When I expose myself to the sun it doesn’t happen in the moment, I don’t feel anything. However, in the future, the lesions appear and need to be removed because of cancer,” she says.
Karine has undergone 130 surgical procedures, including the amputation of her lower lip and a portion of her nose, to eliminate sores brought on by the sun.
However, she has to go through more than just a physical struggle. Karine frequently receives strange looks while walking down the street and has endured online and offline verbal abuse.
She has even found love, yet she still maintains a positive outlook on life.
She met her husband Edmilson through social media, who fell in love with her “story and her strength.” Edmilson has always stood by Karine’s side, and he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
He also decided to embrace Karine’s three children from her previous relationship, which of course, meant a lot to Karine.
”He came and he showed me that I could live a true love story”, she says.
But after posting photos of them together online, Karine was once again exposed to a whole host of offensive comments.
”We have already read many offensive comments calling me a monster, deformed, a zombie,” Karine said, as per the Daily Mail.
Other comments suggested that their relationship wasn’t genuine and that Karine was a ”sugar mommy,” and that she must be very rich.
”Because of the fact he’s a young man and pretty, that caught people’s attention and they didn’t believe that he was with me because he really liked me,” Karine said.
A photographer who captured the couple after they got engaged posted a selection of the images online and wrote:
”In a world where appearance matters more than the feeling, they met not by chance, but by a gathering of souls, an encounter of acceptance and character and love emerged when their souls met and today you are the inspiration to so many people who do not believe in themselves, in life and especially in love.
“THANK YOU every day for being who you are. STOP complaining for being like you are. HUG LIFE, and accept yourself. Much gratitude for teaching me so much. You guys are AMAZING. You are the missing hope in so many people. Thank you for the big hug, and for the wonderful day we experienced together. I carry your smile with me forever.”
His heartfelt words and beautiful images he captured of Karine and Edmilson went viral, and thousands of people commented, congratulating the couple.
Karine wants others to realize the importance of being positive.
”Be happy, smile, because life happens only once,” she said.
Karine and Edmlson were overjoyed to welcome a baby girl into the world in 2023. Zaia was a long-awaited addition to their family because Karine and her husband had been trying to conceive since 2020.
Karine has gone through a lot, but her optimistic outlook has helped her find the happiness she deserves.
Share this story with your friends and family to help us encourage others in similar circumstances. Her story is motivational.