In a world that often judges based on appearance, Karine de Souza, who has an uncommon skin condition, knows the harsh reality of facing strangers’ attacks on social media.
Diagnosed with Xeroderma Pigmentosum at the age of three, a rare and incurable condition that puts her at high risk of skin cancer, Karine has spent her entire life diligently protecting her skin with SPF100 sunscreens, even indoors.
The Brazilian woman’s “one-in-a-million” illness renders her extremely vulnerable to UV radiation, as her skin lacks the ability to heal sun damage. Just a few minutes of sun exposure can result in excruciating sunburn, which leads to the formation of lesions requiring surgical removal due to malignancy.
Karine has undergone a staggering 130 surgical operations to treat sun-caused lesions, enduring the loss of her bottom lip and a portion of her nose.
But her battle extends beyond the physical realm. Karine faces glances and verbal abuse both offline and online, encountering negativity in her town and social media platforms.
Despite the challenges, Karine remains positive and joyful, and she has found love in the form of Edmilson. They connected on social media, and he was captivated by her story and courage. Edmilson has stood by Karine’s side, accepting not only her but also her three children from a previous relationship.
However, when they shared pictures of their love online, Karine became the target of hurtful comments, with some labeling her as a monster or disfigured. People doubted their relationship, suggesting Karine was a “sugar mommy” or that she must be wealthy.
Nevertheless, Karine and Edmilson’s love story has touched the hearts of many. A photographer who captured their engagement moments posted the photos online, praising their genuine connection and the inspiration they provide to those lacking self-belief or hope in love. The post went viral, garnering widespread admiration and support for the couple.
Karine wants people to understand the importance of maintaining optimism. She encourages others to embrace joy, smile, and appreciate life since it only comes once.
In 2023, Karine and Edmilson welcomed their long-awaited daughter, Zaia, into the world. Despite the challenges Karine has faced, her optimistic approach has brought her the joy she deserves, and she cherishes every moment with her loving family.