Even when the girl smiled, pristine golden locks framing her face, a quiet suffering hid behind her eyes.
Audrina Peterson was in extraordinary pain. A pain few will experience in a lifetime, let alone the five years she’d been alive. A pain deeply entrenched in her extremities, where hundreds of tumors had bored into the cartilage, twisting and distorting the bone. A pain that bound her to a wheelchair and would likely rob her of a normal, independent life.
Audrina has Maffucci Syndrome, an extremely rare disorder characterized by skeletal deformities, cutaneous legions of abnormal blood vessels, and countless enchondromas: overgrowths of cartilage that, while benign, could become malignant later in life. There are under two hundred cases worldwide.
When Audrina’s story found its way to the Chive Charities desk, John was immediately struck by the image of the smiling girl with suffering in her eyes.
“I thought to myself, ‘She’s not just sad there,” he said. “This girl is hurting, physically, in that photo.’”