A beautiful young woman who was mercilessly taunted and attacked in high school because of a severe foot deformity has written a book to encourage victims of adversity to stay strong and fight injustice.
And Chloe Howard, author of "Stand Beautiful: A Story of Brokenness, Beauty, & Embracing It All," credits Bono, the legendary front man of U2, with helping inspire her to go public with her incredible story.
"He told me every time I speak out about injustice, every time I speak out about my club foot, my assault, I speak in support of those who cannot speak for themselves," Chloe, 18, said Tuesday in an interview with Newsmax TV's "America Talks Live."
"Bono's message really inspired and challenged me."
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A quintessential blonde California girl, Chloe was born with a club foot, a birth defect in which the foot is misshapen and twisted, making it very difficult to walk and requiring a brace.
Doctors feared she could never lead a normal life. But Chloe refused to let the deformity get her down and after five surgeries by the age of 14, she felt on top of the world as she attended high school.
Then a gang of school bullies began mocking her disability and, in a horrific act of cruelty, tackled her to the ground and held her down, yanking off her shoe and sock so they could gawk and make fun of her foot.
"Growing up, I was told that my foot was special and beautiful and that I was created for a reason," Chloe said. "So, I was really shocked, and in that moment, I became ashamed."
Then in a chance meeting with Bono, she had a heart-to-heart talk with the rocker, whose hits include "With or Without You" and "I Will Follow" and is one of the world's best-known philanthropists in the rock world.
"Bono also quoted Martin Luther King Jr.," she told Newsmax hosts Miranda Khan, John Cardillo, and Gina Loudon. "He told me, 'Chloe, the arc of the universe goes towards justice and love.' That was so poetic, and I think it speaks volumes.
". . . We as people are not stuck with society's labels of us. Only we have the power to determine what our labels are."
Chloe's parents offered to let her change schools after her attack, but the plucky coed, armed with Bono's encouraging words, stayed put and started a movement called "Stand Beautiful" to help anyone who has been the victim of harassment.
Her message of love and encouragement have been so inspirational she now speaks at TED conferences around the world, sharing her story of overcoming injustice, battling self-doubt, and rising up to speak out.
Now, with a book under her belt, enters college as a freshman this fall, majoring in communications.
"Stand Beautiful: A Story of Brokenness, Beauty, & Embracing It All," co-written with Margot Starbuck, is published by Zondervan and is available in two editions, one for young adults and a picture book for children.
You can follow the "Stand Beautiful" movement at its website, on Twitter @istandbeautiful, on Instagram, and Facebook.
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