(Editor’s Note: This guest editorial was written by Dustin Siggins.)
There may be no part of America that is hated more than social media. The Left says Facebook, Twitter, and the rest permit too much content, while the right points to bans and content restrictions as discrimination. Parents say it’s hurting their kids, and almost all of us agree that it’s bad for our mental health and public discourse.
It’s therefore a great pleasure to introduce you to 15-year-old Adalia Rose Williams, a girl who set the Internet ablaze with her zest for life despite a disorder that killed her last week. Via Insider:
The Texas teenager had over 12 million Facebook followers and 2.9 million subscribers on YouTube, where she posted health updates, makeup videos, comedy skits, and videos featuring her family members.
Williams was diagnosed with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome when she was about 3 months old, her mother, Natalia Pallante, told The New Zealand Herald in 2018.
The condition, also known as progeria, has no known cure and causes children to age much faster than normal, with symptoms including hair loss and slow growth, according to Mayo Clinic. The average life expectancy for a child with the condition is 13 years old, according to Mayo Clinic.
I hadn’t heard of Williams until she died, but what’s clear is that she refused to be a victim. In one video with almost one million views, she experimented with eyeliner. In an Instagram post, she pretended to be Cher, and on Facebook she carried “Baby Luka” – a silicone baby – like he was her own child. Other videos include her strutting and dancing – one of her favorite things to do – and giving her grandmother a makeover.
“Adalia’s fearless journey shows the dignity and value of every human life,” Daily Wire media reporter and Eastern Orthodox priest Ben Johnson told me. “Her too-brief life deserved, and received, the kind of coverage that can encourage going through suffering to find joy in a world that so desperately needs it. The Internet is the perfect expression of the human soul: we always find exactly what we’re looking for.”
In a way, it almost seems quaint to focus on a story like Adalia’s amongst the political, economic, social, and spiritual chaos which seems to overwhelm us on a daily basis. But the world has always been dangerous and uncertain – social media has just given a small number of people license to dehumanize and destroy from behind the security of fake names and computer screens. Instead of focusing on the many good people in our lives, we can easily become convinced to focus on the very few awful ones.
In a 2018 interview, her mother said Adalia weighed just 15 pounds a few weeks shy of her 12th birthday. She sure punched above her weight.