My name is Douglas Ranell Lewis Junior and I'm 35 years old. I was born with an extremely rare condition called Pfeiffer syndrome that affects about 1 out of every 100,000 people. I was born as a breech baby which means my feet came out of my mother’s womb first.
The doctors notified my mother, immediately after giving birth to me that I only had 24 hours to live. My mother didn’t have time to process this horrific news because the medical staff were frantically transporting me from the county hospital to a specialist university hospital so I had to be air lifted by an emergency helicopter.
I was connected up to tubes which helped me to breathe. My skull had not formed properly so my brain did not have enough room to breathe. I was born with 12 fingers and 12 toes as well as 3 kidney and a heart murmur.
It was a miracle that after 24 hours I was still alive. I know my mother really loved me because she could have quite easily given me up for adoption instead going through all the of complicated challenges of dealing with the constant medical problems and stresses associated with raising a child with Pfeiffer syndrome but she didn’t give me away. My mother and father continued to raise me like any normal child.
I had to have many complex reconstructive surgeries to enlarge my skull so that my brain could function properly which meant they had to completely remove my face and insert metal screws in to my skull to keep it all together. This operation was featured on the National Geographic TV channel because the procedure was so ground breaking and a first of its kind.
Due to the complexity of my condition Pfeiffer syndrome they had to bring in the best neurosurgeon in the world Dr McKay Kenneth who due to his achievement’s as a neurosurgeon appeared on the Oprah Winfrey TV show. Many years later I watched Dr McKay Kenneth on Oprah and was very appreciative that this doctor had saved my life.
Over the past 35 years I have had over 30 plus surgeries which has cost over $2 million dollars. It was only by the grace of god that my father happened to have a job working for the government so he was able to use his insurance to cover the costs of the surgeries.
Growing up as a child with Pfeiffer syndrome I had to face many hardships. I knew from very young age that I was different because people would stare at me when my mother brought me in public and I was not able to join in with other children to do normal child activities.
Even as an adult I still face many challenges due to the way I look. I find it difficult to get jobs and be treated like a normal human being. My hardships have taught me to love myself and to go after my dreams no matter what the naysayers may say.
It was my dream to become an entrepreneur so I decided to create a YouTube Channel where I could share my story and inspire others as well as showcase my talent in music, acting, film directing and comedy with the world. People were loving my work and was finally accepted me for my talent instead of judging me by my appearance.
Unfortunately, one night out of the blue I received a call by a group of men who began making fun of me calling me all types of names. They told me I didn’t have talent, that I was ugly and that I should just drink bleach and kill myself. It lasted for about 4 hours straight and that video had gone viral which made me feel humiliated. It was the first time I had ever been cyber bullied.
I did not sleep that night. I felt so depressed I cried and thought about deleting my YouTube Account and just giving up on my dreams. Instead of giving up because of these online trolls I decided to turn a negative into a positive and I created the Roast Fest World Wide comedy page where I allowed online trolls to enter into a video call with me so they could insult me and I could insult them back but all in the name of comedy to make people laugh and to promote anti-bullying and raise awareness for my condition Pfeiffer syndrome.
My comedy show has become a hit and has gone viral. My comedy show videos have reached millions of people and I have gained over 10,000 followers on my social accounts. People message me every day and tell me how much they love my show and seeing how my confidence and ability to make people laugh has helped them when they felt suicidal.
I have also created a brand called U.G.L.Y Gang which means “U Gotta Love Yourself”. I have got the world saying “On Baby” which is a slang phrase I came up with. People love my brand and they love my entertainment. My mission is to spread positivity, make people laugh and share my story with the world to inspire people so they can learn to love themselves as they are, chase their dreams and be happy with the way they were born. “On baby”