Girl’s Skin Begins To Harden Like Porcelain And 18 Years Later It Turns Her Into A ‘Living Doll’

by Amy Paige
Amy is the Director of Trending Content at LittleThings. After graduating from Florida State University with a creative writing degree, she moved straight to New York City to pursue a career in the arts. She loves discovering and sharing viral videos, watching movies with her Muppet-like poodle mix named Cali, and doing the robot whenever possible.

Shirley Alvarez was born in Queens, New York. For the first few years of her life, her family described her as a ball of energy, always active and dancing.

But at the age of 9, Shirley was diagnosed with systemic scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease that hardens soft tissue throughout the body and can affect the entire body. The condition progressed rapidly.

Within weeks, Shirley went from using a walker to relying on a wheelchair full-time. Her skin hardened, like porcelain, to the point it began turning her into a “living doll.”

This was her lowest point. She felt nothing but pity for herself. “I remember sitting in a chair, I was very exhausted, and I looked at myself in front of a mirror, and I asked, why me? Like, why is this happening? What did I do to deserve this?” she told Barcroft TV.

Minutes later, Shirley decided to stop with the pity. From that moment on, she not only accepted her disease but embraced it in a completely unexpected way.

“I always felt like I was trapped, my soul was trapped in a foreign body, and so I thought a doll was the best concept of expressing how I feel living with scleroderma. I might be a little fragile-looking, I might have porcelain-like skin, but I feel like there’s this immense strength within myself, and I want to try and project that.”

Now, at 27 years old, Shirley has created a new persona for herself that has restored her sense of confidence. It’s quite inspiring to see what she’s “turned herself into.”

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