By Ben Wheeler
THIS BRITTLE bone disease sufferer who has broken an estimated five-hundred bones including some caused by HICCUPS is now battling to raise her profile as an inspirational public speaker.
Marie Holm Laursen, 21, from Aarhus, Denmark was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta when she was just one week old, a genetic condition which causes bone fractures from very minimal impact due to a lack of collagen.
As a child, Marie would often receive cruel comments and stares from others but is now fighting back to raise awareness of the condition by telling her story in her role as a public speaker.
Her most deadly moment came after she fell from her wheelchair and struck her head. This caused a bleed on her brain which nearly killed her.
Images show Marie as a cute young child compared to the outgoing and confident woman she is today, refusing to let her condition stop her doing the things that all young people do.
“My bones are very fragile, and I have broken about 500 bones in total, even the hiccups can cause me to break a rib,” said Marie.
“My worst experience was in 2013 when I fell out of my wheelchair. I broke an awful lot of bones and had a brain bleed; the doctors didn’t know if I would make it and my condition was very critical.
“I got the diagnosis when I was just one week old. The doctors tried to figure out why there was a weird popping sound in my legs when they made a specific movement.
“After a full body x-ray, they discovered that the sound was my bones breaking and that I had multiple breaks in my entire body, so they figured out that I had Osteogenesis Imperfecta.”
Marie then went on to recall what it was like growing up with the condition and how it affects her day to day life now.
“I had a really good childhood, of course I got some cruel comments sometimes and people would stare, they still do,” she said.
“The reason people stare is mostly out of curiosity which is rooted in a lack of knowledge which is one of the main reasons for me doing my talks.
“The condition affects me in my day to day life because of how fragile my bones are, and it can sometimes be more difficult for me to do stuff.
“Nevertheless, I find it very important not to limit myself because of the fear of breaking something, I need to live my life to the fullest and sometimes that requires me taking some chances.
“Working as a speaker is probably one of my biggest achievements, it was so frightening to tell my story to a big crowd for the first time and be completely honest, but I feel so lucky to have this as my job.”
Finally, Marie spoke about the important role her friends and family have played in her making it to where she is today whilst discussing her hopes for the future.
“My friends and family have helped me a lot, I don’t know what I would’ve done without them,” she said.
“I can handle life with brittle bone disease because of them, they distract my mind when I am in pain because of my fractures and help me when I need it.
“My biggest hope for the future is to get a family with a husband and kids. I find it very intimidating to say that out loud because I know that it can be more difficult when you have a disability.
“I think it is so important to dream big and not hold back because you are afraid of failure. You can’t always choose your circumstances, but I believe it’s a choice we make to focus on either the negative things or positive things in life, I try and choose the positive.”
For more information see Marie’s Instagram