‘I used to be scared looking in the mirror’ – scleroderma activist Farah Khaleck – BBC Africa

‘I used to be scared looking in the mirror’ – scleroderma activist Farah Khaleck – BBC Africa


I used to be so angry, like looking into the mirror, I was scared. I am Farah Khaleck. Surviving scleroderma for the past 14 years, I inspire life. So we were in India, and the doctor tells us that it’s scleroderma and it’s an incurable disease, and here are your steroids. ‘They will just help manage the disease’. And I am like, what do you mean there is no cure? There has to be a cure. It started off initially as slowly
stiffening my skin and my body. So that reduced a lot of my movement. I started getting tired. I was like I can’t walk, you know,
like, continuously. Praying, I can’t do sujud (prostration)
when I am down, I sit on a chair and pray. I lost my weight, I lost my hair, it really, really changed me. You know actually I am a very
good cook by the way. I literally disconnected myself actually. I was fighting within, I was fighting with everyone
who was around me, and it was a horrible struggle in the beginning. Eight years into the disease, I was done fighting. I started praying, I started wearing my hijab. I don’t even know how to describe it, but when I wore my hijab I felt I was beautiful, and I looked into the mirror
and I loved what I saw. So… I am sorry. So yeah, I accepted her. When I came out with my story, I had so many messages from girls, and they used to ask me ‘how are you so confident? I hate myself because of one pimple.’ I felt the need to help people
to embrace themselves.

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