Inspiring model overcomes a disease causing her leg to weigh 100 pounds
Knoxville, Tennesee - Mahogany Geter has had to endure unpleasant stares her entire life. But now, she hopes the looks will be ones of admiration, and help her reach her modeling dreams.
The brave young woman from Tennesee was born with primary lymphedema, a visible accumulation of fluid that occurs mainly in the legs or arms.
The rare health condition causes lymph nodes to form abnormally, and develops when the lymphatic fluid cannot be properly removed from the limbs. A congestion occurs, which causes swelling to get worse and worse.
Mahogany suffers from lymphedema in her left leg, which has swollen so much over time that it now weighs almost 100 pounds.
Critics told her she should have her leg amputated
Since the 23-year-old has posted about her condition on social media, she has been the subject of some scorn and ridicule.
Critics have even advised her to have her leg amputated - just to make her look better.
"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.
For a long time, the young woman didn't feel comfortable in her skin: "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."
There is no cure for lymphedema, but there have been newer studies with medications that can help treat the condition. In some cases, surgeries can be done to remove excess lymph nodes. Otherwise, wearing compression garments or using massage to move the fluid can help ease symptoms.
In Mahogany's case, regular lymphatic drainage and physiotherapy provide relief, and maintaining a healthy diet is crucial. She has to drink a lot of water and avoid salty foods and alcohol.
With tips to manage her condition and some serious self-love, she began to come to terms with her illness, leaned on her mother for support, and got help from online forums.
Since then, things have started to look up.
She goes on social media breaks when noise from her haters becomes too much, and focuses on healing her leg. She also spends her time drawing, listening to music, and meditating.
In addition, the young fighter has a big goal: "I try to be strong and stay focused on my dreams of making it as a model."
Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot/Instagram/model.mahoganyyg