An 11-year-old girl with a very rare condition wants the world to know that “Different Is Beautiful.”
Destiny Strickland, the girl in question, was born with amniotic band syndrome, or ABS. ABS is a rare medical condition in which the inner lining of the amniotic sack peels away, getting entangled in digits, limbs and other parts of the fetus. This can then lead to abnormalities of the head and face, brain defects and malformation of the arms and legs. ABS occurs in about 1 of every 1,200 to 15,000 live births, according to the National Organization of Rare Disorders.
Because of the reactions to her ABS, Strickland and her family launched the “Different Is Beautiful” campaign. The campaign is intended to make people more comfortable around those who may look different because of their condition, and it’s a multi-platform effort.
Part of the campaign is her Different is Beautiful YouTube channel. There are only nine videos uploaded to the platform so far, but thousands of people have already watched the video in which Strickland shares her story through the use of handwritten notecards:
On the notecards, she explains how rare her condition is, and how she almost didn’t survive it. Over the course of her life so far, she’s had many reconstructive surgeries, including nine attempts at a prosthetic eye, all of which have failed.
“It’s not always easy being different,” she writes. “People have said rude things, called me names, made fun of me, AND RAN AWAY FROM ME. I wish I wasn’t born different, but I’d rather have been born different than to not have been born at all. So I’m happy to be here.”
Strickland goes on to share her many hobbies and interests, which include everything from fashion to photography to horseback riding. Her life is incredibly full.
“I love my family and most importantly I love myself,” she eventually concludes. “I am Destiny. I am different. I am beautiful and so are you.”
Other offerings on the YouTube channel include quick-bite videos, including one that was filmed as she was taken into surgery. And here’s a 9-second TikTok video of her dancing to “Watch Me” — doing the “whip and nae nae.”
She’s living the normal tween life!
Strickland has never been the type to let anything hold her back, and this attitude shines through in her campaign’s messaging. Everything she and her family create is aimed at teaching other children with similar disorders that they can do anything they desire.
Strickland told Good Morning America that people just can’t always see that there’s a good soul inside of a person who looks different because of their disorder.
“It does not matter what they look like on the outside,” she said. “What matters [is] what’s on the inside because they could be a really nice person. You just don’t see it.”
She’s an impressive young girl with plenty to offer the world. Thank you for sharing yourself with us Destiny!