Born with a death sentence, she chose life


Toni Roberts was born with a death sentence. Diagnosed with a rare skin disease, doctors gave her less than a year to live. But she survived. And now she dedicates her life to help others going through the same thing.

Roberts has epidermolysis bullosa, an inherited skin disease that causes the skin to blister, resulting in the membrane becoming fragile. Her ailment separated from other children and prevented her from doing things like sports and extramural activities. But with a resilient mother who refused to let her child feel anything but love, Roberts learnt to live with her ailment. After graduating matric, Roberts went to Europe to au pair, looking after children with similar skin conditions. She returned to South Africa with her wealth of knowledge and joined the South African Epidermolysis Bullosa Interest. The group consists of doctors, dermatologists, nurses and counsellors who help patients with the disease. Roberts works to help families affected by the skin disease by providing resources, information and sourced funding. She does all of this to ensure that diagnosed infants receive proper care to prevent unnecessary deaths.

With the support of family and friends, Roberts has developed a positive outlook despite the odds she has faced. She appreciates her life and views every day as a way to explore new possibilities.