About a century ago, Mary Ann Bevan was proclaimed to be the ugliest woman in the world, after winning a contest designed for the sole purpose of mercilessly making fun of people with physical disabilities.
Mary Ann was perfectly aware of the purpose of the contest but still decided to appear, as this would be her last chance to earn some money and feed her children.
The fact that she was declared the world's ugliest woman and agreed to public humiliation all in the name of her 4 children, makes her tale a touching and inspiring one at the same time.
Mary Ann Bevan was born in London in 1874, with the rare disease acromegaly. The condition is a result of excess production of the hormone somatotropin by the pituitary gland.
When quantities of it reach 90% in the body, as happens in acromegaly, the individual grows to a gigantic size and they usually experience vision problems.
The disease is also accompanied by painful migraines and constant muscle pain.
Despite the physical discomfort Mary Ann suffered on a daily basis, she worked as a nurse and at 29 married her husband Thomas Bevan, with whom she had 4 children.
After her husband's unexpected passing, Mary Ann was forced to work three times as much in order to feed her kids but was still unable to, until she learned of the contest for the world's ugliest woman.
She showed up and won, immediately after which she was offered a job at the local circus. Since she had been experiencing financial difficulties, while her condition continued to worsen, she decided to accept.
Sacrificing her comfort and dignity, to be the object of humiliation for the rest of her life whilst touring with the troupe in the US and Great Britain, she managed to earn enough to support her children.