A non-profit gives free suits, ties and training to underprivileged men, in the New York City area. Starting the initiative in 2011, Kevin, 41, came up with the idea after seeing young men in his area unable to afford a suit for job interviews as well as those coming out of prison with no smart clothes in their possession. From ad hoc clothes rails on Harlem’s sidewalks to two boutiques (in Jamaica and Harlem) 100 Suits has expanded to offer clothing to women, academies for at-risk youth and in 2016, 100 Suits started going into Rikers Island correctional facility once a month and now works there every week, running a book club and mentorship programme.
AN AGE-GAP couple, separated by 45 years, have revealed how they discovered a connection between them that extended far beyond their four-year relationship. Stefani, 24, and Don Walper, 69, of Armstrong, British Columbia, are now married with a one-year-old son, but they were shocked to learn they shared a big part of their lives years before meeting. Stefani explained to Barcroft TV: “We had been together two or three months and we were laying in bed one day talking and I was like ‘you should tell me a secret, tell me something nobody knows.’” Don began to tell Stefani about his previous marriage of five years and how he had a son with his ex-wife. “So Don tells me this story,” Stefani continued. “And I was like ‘wait what’s your son’s name?’ And Don repeats it. I was like ‘oh my god, I know him.’
A FAMILY from Watford, England, want the world to know that life can be the same when living with disabilities. Faye Pearson, 29, and her husband Stevie, 26, are parents to 18-month-old Rowan. Both of their conditions are progressive, however, neither was passed onto their son, Rowan. Stevie and Faye rely on the help of carers around the clock, but are determined that people recognize this does not mean they are in less control when it comes to bringing up their son and providing him with the love and care he requires.
LITTLE Olivia Chicchon remains upbeat despite battling a rare condition that has made the right side of her face heavily swollen. Two-year-old Olivia, was born with a lymphatic malformation that crosses her facial midline, reaches back towards her ear and goes up to her eyelid. Affecting only one in every 4,000 births, lymphatic malformations produce a small mass in the head or neck after an abnormal formation of lymphatic vessels. The Chicchon family, who reside in Lodi, California, has already experienced numerous health scares with Olivia; a bubbly girl who loves to sing and take ballet lessons with her friends. And her parents, Ivan and Teresa Chicchon, are now anxiously waiting for ground-breaking treatment that could see Olivia’s swollen tumour shrink up to 50% in size.
A FOUR-FEET model with dwarfism has started a career in modelling in an attempt to promote body positivity for people with dwarfism and other physical conditions. Fatima Timbo, from Kent, UK, has the most common form of dwarfism, called achondroplasia that affects around 250,000 people worldwide. Fatima started modelling in 2017 and has since gained more than 38,000 followers on Instagram. The 22-year-old was intensively bullied while in high school but says that in the last couple of years her confidence has soared, and she no longer cares about negative comments. Instead, the young woman embraces her condition and helps to inspire others to feel comfortable in their own skin.
A THIRTEEN-year-old boy, who once weighed 423llbs, has lost over half of his body weight thanks to weight loss surgery and is now looking to have his excess skin removed. Once known as the heaviest child in the world, Arya Permana, from Karawang, West Java, Indonesia is now an active 13-year-old after losing an incredible 220lbs. When he was 10-years-old - and at his heaviest - Arya weighed 423lbs (over 30 stone or 192kg) – the same as six boys his same age. But for all the ways that his life has improved, the weight loss has resulted in a large amount of excess skin on Arya’s arms and chest in particular. The teenager is hoping to have skin removal surgery, at the Hasan Sadikin Hospital in Bandung, after completing the national exams.
A 17-YEAR-OLD girl with paralysed arms has sworn that she’ll never let her disability stop her from dancing. Sarah Todd Hammer, from Atlanta, was just eight years old when she developed acute flaccid myelitis, a rare neurological condition which left her unable to move her arms and hands. But despite how many small difficulties she faces day-to-day, she refuses to let her disability hold her back from making impressive accomplishments. At just 11 years old. Sarah Todd published her first auto-biographical book ‘5k, Ballet and a Spinal Cord Injury’, and has published another two books since. She also continues to dance and choreographs moves to adapt to her disability.
A WOMAN who was once suicidal due to having a rare disorder that causes scaly skin, now is living life to the full. Mui Thomas, who resides in Hong Kong, suffers from a rare skin disorder called harlequin ichthyosis. Harlequin ichthyosis causes scaly skin, which cracks creating open wounds that leave suffers vulnerable to infection. The oldest survivor of harlequin ichthyosis is 35 years of age. At 26 now, Mui is one of the oldest known survivors and the world's first rugby referee living with this condition.
CONJOINED twins Shivanath and Shivram Sahu say they have no regrets turning down offers to separate them - calling their condition a ‘gift from God’. The boys, who have just turned 18 and live near Raipur in India, went viral in 2014 when a video of them washing and dressing themselves was broadcast. They say they were approached by several doctors with offers of surgery to divide them but said no. They are now too old for the operation but are happy with their decision despite it leaving them unemployable.
WEARING a floor-length maxi dress Ada Thompson’s lymphedema is almost hidden but as soon as she starts to walk or has to pick up her skirt, it’s impossible to disguise her condition, which effects the entire right side of her body. Ada Thompson, 38, from Tyler, Texas was born with primary congenital Lymphedema. Even as a baby she had to wear extra-large nappies to accommodate the swelling on her leg. As she got older the lymphedema on her leg has grown to the point that she can no longer wear any form of trousers, having to endure rude comments and stares when she is out in public.
AN INTERABLED couple whose wedding video went viral prove trolls wrong. Phillip Eling was born with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy called Bethlem Myopathy – affecting the skeletal muscles and connective tissue, the disease is characterised by slowly progressive muscle weakness and joint stiffness. In Phillip’s case, his fingers, wrists, elbows and ankles are weak, however, he has also been diagnosed with the most severe case of his condition in the Southern Hemisphere and has to use a wheelchair to get around. Due to his lack of physical health, the 31-year-old, who lives in Adelaide, Australia, has experienced many hardships in everyday life, but remains positive and ambitious thanks to his wife Susan Eling. Originally from Kenya, Susan moved to Adelaide in 2015 and just two years later, her and Phillip were engaged. The differences between them are noticeable to all and after their wedding video of them dancing went viral online, they received a torrent of negative comments towards Susan in particular and how she was only with Phillip for his apparent wealth. But in spite of this, the married couple couldn’t be happier and are looking forward to spending the rest of their lives together.
DESPITE having an age gap of 30 years, married couple Melinda and Larry Mikla have revealed their baby plans to their friends and family. Mindy, 27, and Larry, 57, are saving up for a procedure that Mindy describes as the ‘mild version of In Vitro or IVF’. With a 95 percent chance of success, the happy couple, from Florida, are now more than hopeful they will be able to become parents in the near future - even though Larry had a vasectomy back in the early 90s. Larry already has a son, 27-year-old Bruce Mikla – the same age as Mindy - but this would be Mindy’s first child. When Larry and Mindy first met, Mindy didn’t feel like she wanted children, but as her big wedding day loomed, she began to have a change of heart.
A YOUNG mother has developed an incredibly rare water allergy after giving birth to her daughter. Cherelle Farrugia, 26, from Cardiff, Wales, breaks out into painful itchy hives whenever she comes into contact with water. The areas on her body worst affected are her chest, back and upper arms. Cherelle wasn’t born with the allergy but bizarrely discovered her skin would become red and painful after bathing – something that did not happen before she gave birth to her daughter, Willow. The unusual condition called aquagenic urticaria makes simple day-to-day actions like washing herself and bathing her 18 month-year-old daughter incredibly difficult.
A WOMAN has lost half of her body weight in just over a year after joining a fitness programme. After losing an incredible 230 pounds in a short period of time, Katelyn Broughton, who resides in Columbus, Ohio, was left with severe excess skin. The 26-year-old underwent her first skin removal surgery - a circumferential body lift - in December last year. Katelyn has set up a GoFundMe page in hopes to raise money for further skin removal surgeries - thighplasty (thigh lift), brachioplasty (arm lift) and a mastopexy (breast lift) - to remove the skin on her upper and lower body.
A MOTHER-of-two has been born with a rare birth defect that has resulted in her having no hands. Despite being born without hands, Janet Brown, 31, from Durham, North Carolina, didn’t let her condition to stop her and even became an Uber and Lyft driver. Janet told Barcroft TV: “There is no everyday task that I can’t do – my condition doesn’t stop me from doing anything.”
A 22-YEAR-OLD cites his rare condition, which affects his teeth, hair and sweat glands, with helping him become a model. Brooks Ginnan, from New York, was born with ectodermal dysplasia, a rare genetic disorder. Brooks told BTV: "I believe the statistic is about 1 in 100,000 babies are born with this. It is a condition that affects my teeth, hairs, sweat glands and a number of other aspects of my life.” The 22-year-old has now modelled- both catwalk and editorial - for brands around the world.
A MARRIED couple with a 32 age gap say that their difference in age is no issue. Tom Crutchfield is 70 years old and has been with his 37-year-old beloved, Stacey, for almost four years. The couple got to know each other when Stacey began working on Tom’s reptile farm in Homestead, Florida, where the pair now live and work together.
A MAN who tried to kill himself has found a new lease for life with his caregiving girlfriend after becoming paralysed from the waist down. Kevin Ortiz, an Air Force veteran, originally from Virginia and now living in California, shot himself in the chest in 2012. The couple have now set up their own YouTube channel, The Life Of K&K, where they discuss life in an interabled relationship.
A SUPER-MUM happily dotes on her loving husband and cares for her baby twins - whilst being a double amputee. Neo Keitumetse originally from Botswana, was born with a congenital defect in her legs which meant she had to get them amputated as a child. The 29-year-old told BTV is now happily married with twin boys.
AN ASPIRING J-pop singer who describes herself as a “pink icon” has dressed in nothing but her favourite colour since 2016. Idaho-based art student Alison Jones loves the colour pink so much, that she has made it an integral part of her life and style. The 22-year-old says that everything she owns is pink and has worn the colour every day for three years. Her style follows “Harajuku” and “Kawaii” fashion trends, which originated in Japan in the 1980s.
A DISABLED beauty and fashion vlogger is launching her own all-inclusive clothing brand for people of all shapes and sizes. Ellie Darby-Prangnell, from Essex, UK, suffers from a genetic condition, called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) that makes her muscles weaker and causes problems with movement. But despite her condition which limits her movements and requires consistent care, the 18-year-old has a part-time job at a clothing shop, volunteers for an autism charity, has her own YouTube channel and is now planning to launch her very own fashion brand. Ellie says that her brand is aimed into bringing more diversity into the fashion industry and designed for everyone with or without a disability.
A 27-YEAR-OLD woman had admitted she is ADDICTED to bodybuilding and believes all women would benefit from lifting. Rahki Giovanni from Miami, Florida began pumping iron in 2015 to help her mental and physical health. At one point, the young woman would spend eight hours in the gym at a time and now has an extremely defined body and thighs so muscular they can crush watermelons. Now, the personal trainer, YouTuber and influencer trains everyday for two hours, and admits she is addicted to bodybuilding.
A 21-YEAR-OLD woman has learned to love her bald head, with the support of her fiancé. Sierra Dawn from Washington state was diagnosed with alopecia totalis in 2013. She told Barcroft TV: “Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that causes your body’s immune system to somehow for whatever reason think that your hair is a foreign body or virus. "I remember the doctor looking at that spot and telling me it looks a lot like alopecia. and I have never heard of that word before and at that time I struggled to even pronounce it." The young woman first noticed something wasn’t right when her hair began falling out at high school. When Sierra was 18, she sought refuge in an online forum - where she met, now Fiancé, Zane. The couple are now engaged, and Sierra is thankful that her fiancé has helped her learn to love her bald head.
A WOMAN from Ohio with rapid aging disease has been told she is one in 50 million. Tiffany Wedekind, 41, was diagnosed with progeria when she was in her late twenties. Her brother, Chad, who was also diagnosed with the illness, passed away from complications related to the disease seven years ago. Tiffany’s case is unique as children are usually diagnosed with progeria in their first two years of life, and tend to not live past adolescence.
A 23-YEAR-OLD man calls himself a ‘chaotic colourful monster’ and gets his outfit inspirations from horror films such as The Exorcist. Daniel Perera from New Jersey, USA, indulges his aesthetic in pinks, bows and glitter – plus fangs, black contact lenses and fake blood. He told Barcroft TV: "My style is very chaotic, very monstrous and very colourful.” However not everyone appreciates his unique look - particularly his mother. When Daniel sees his mother, he tones down his colourful look to something more modest. Daniel praises the way he dresses, and believes that it has helped him become more comfortable in his own skin.