A woman born without arms or legs has become an inspiration across Columbia after she overcame a serious genetic disability and a dark childhood to become a talented artist and motivational speaker.
Zuly Sanguino was born in Bogota, Colombia, with Tetra-amelia syndrome, an extremely rare condition that prevents limbs from properly developing inside of the womb, according to the Daily Mail.
Her upbringing was very difficult, even without her disability, for her father committed suicide when she was just 2 years old. She was relentlessly bullied throughout school, where children called her alien and would sometimes take her snacks, according to the report.
“I felt ostracized at school and didn’t have any friends,” Sanguino said. “I thought there was no hope for me. Mum tried to keep my spirits up but I felt so low.”
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Life was often incredibly cruel to her. She was raped as a teenager, and when she was 15, she almost committed suicide, the report states. She climbed up to the fourth floor of the building where she lived and almost jumped, but her mother found her right before she did, according to the report.
“She was so upset things had got so bad. She hugged me and told me everything would be alright. She told me I would go on to shine and show other people you can live a normal, happy life with a disability.”
Since then, Sanguino spent a lot of effort to make the most out of the what she has, and to learn how to live a normal life. Early on in life, she learned to walk on her stumps, and was eventually taught how to do things like making her bed, brushing her teeth, and changing clothes, the report states. Over time, though, she has built confidence about her situation.
“I realized I’d spent too long letting my disability get me down and I had so much to live for.”
At age 25, she now sells paintings and makes some money through motivational speaking. She said she hopes to get married and have children one day.
‘I’m proof you don’t have to let a disability hold you back,” she said. “I went through such a dark time but now I’m in a good place and it’s given me a sense of purpose helping other people.”