Mahogany Geter, 23, from Knoxville, Tennessee, is using her disability to make a difference.
Born with lymphedema, Geter says her unusual condition causes excess fluid to collect in the body’s soft tissue, resulting in massive swelling as seen in her oversized, enlarged leg which has added 100lbs to her small frame.
But Geter has taken the “bad” with the good and decided to turn the tables on the trolls who have teased her since she was a little girl. She now models and shows off her big leg with pride, pushing boundaries and kicking down barriers to prove that this disability can’t and won’t dismiss her dreams.
“My mom was so worried when I was diagnosed but we have got through everything together. As a child I never felt pretty, I used to think God had cursed me. I felt ugly, like a freak of nature and cried in private so many times,” she said in a ‘Love Don’t Judge’ video discussing what life was like to grow up with this condition.
“Then I decided that I was given this condition because I am emotionally strong and I can handle it.
“Since then I have been learning to accept and celebrate myself.”
When Geter was born, doctors noticed that her left foot was different and told her mom Timika Geter that they suspected that she had lymphedema.
“My mom was so worried when I was diagnosed but we have got through everything together. As a child I never felt pretty, I used to think God had cursed me. I felt ugly, like a freak of nature and cried in private so many times.”
Although Geter said there is no cure for her condition, she doesn’t intend on doing anything drastic like having her leg amputated. That’s something, she said, many people suggest that she should do.
“I have had my fair share of ignorant comments, one person told me my leg looked like a ham roll and one girl at school called me a deformed b***h. It has been so hard to rise above these mean people but I have no other choice,” Mahogany said according to The Daily Mail.
“For the longest I felt so low about myself but once I got older and with loads of support from the online lymphedema community and my mom who is my inspiration, she is so strong, I realized how beautiful I am. Not only looks but as a person.”
Geter also knows firsthand that self-care is essential to her living her best life.
That means not missing her scheduled compression appointments – something she’s learned the hard way not to do. Geter said not drinking water and compressing her leg to lessen the collection of fluid once caused her to develop cellulitis, a skin infection that is very painful and irritated by the swelling.
“It does get frustrating dealing with flare-ups because I just want to live my life more freely and it feels like I can’t.
“If I don’t keep on top of my condition I get flare-ups. It can be overwhelming. When I feel low I take steps now to build myself up. I take a break from social media, I listen to music, meditate and definitely talk to my mother because she’s like my therapist.”
“I want to inspire other people to celebrate their differences. I now believe I am beautiful on the inside and out. I’m proud of what my body can do.”
You go girl!