At just 6 years old, Shantonia Wayne was brutally run over by a van. Her small and delicate leg was trapped under a tire. The van’s driver, in panic, reversed to free her; however, the maneuver ripped the skin and flesh off her left leg, sending her straight to the emergency room.
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Wayne tells Yahoo Beauty, “I suffered extensive damage.” While one doctor wanted to amputate her leg, another doctor, whom she calls her “guardian angel,” intervened and saved it.
“He [the second doctor] objected and decided to work with me on the road to recovery. Thanks to him, I am here now standing tall,” she says. “I have been through it all and refuse to be broken.”
Wayne stayed in the hospital for more than a year and a half, going through many reconstructive leg surgeries.
“I was bullied by my peers and excluded by my friends because of my scars. Yet here I am today sharing my story and making a difference for others in similar situations.”
Wayne thanks her mother for her support and for helping her find self-love. “She taught me that outward beauty is not what the focus is,” she says. “She would always tell me that it’s what’s in your heart that matters.
“I was given a second chance, and I was not going to waste it worrying about how I looked.”
Her advice to others dealing with bullies: “Stand strong and don’t be scared to stand up for yourself or speak up about how you feel or how others are making you feel. It is your right to be comfortable in this world — don’t make others make you feel otherwise. Do not make anyone make you feel small.”
Wayne wants to help others who are labeled “different” by society’s standards. “Celebrate your difference because it is what makes you beautiful,” she says.
She continues, “I want to help people, I want to help them get through that phase, because I know what it’s like to be there and no one really understands what you’re going through because they cannot physically relate.”
Wayne lives on the Caribbean island of Grenada. She has dreams of going to university in London and wants to continue spreading her self-love message.
“No matter what you look like, your size, your background, your religion, and your scars, you are literally so beautiful,” she says.
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