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Streamers With Rare Medical Conditions

Many people think that streaming is an easy job, but time and time again viewers find that being extremely online comes with its own host of problems. Many streamers have admitted they wanted to quit after being harassed online or suffering from various health issues as a result of their intense schedule. In fact, streaming every day has a negative effect on one's body, leading to a number of issues both physical and mental. That being said, not every streamer begins their career with a fully healthy and fit body or mind.

Streamers with disabilities and medical conditions have found a niche in the world of gaming, and frequently use their platform to both advocate for others and spread awareness of their own conditions. Not only that, but they're also great at games and viewer interaction, of course. The following gamers have cultivated followings that embrace differences and encourage change in the streaming community. Here are just a few of the amazing streamers with rare medical conditions.

Aeyvi - EDS, POTS

Aeyvi frequently has to remind people that not all disabilities are visible to the eye. In 2020, some critics accused Aeyvi of faking her disabilities, which include POTS (or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), Chiari Malformation, and EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome).

It all started in 2018, when Aeyvi posted a short video to her YouTube channel depicting what some of her episodes look like. The combination of her disabilities can result in small strokes, mobility issues, and chronic pain, leaving her unable to stream or even  be fully comfortable in her daily life. Aeyvi continued showing bits of her life to her audience, openly talking about her disabilities and how they affected her life. In 2019, Aeyvi's in-game photography was spotlighted on the official "Elder Scrolls" website, gaining her even more fans.

After being introduced to Aeyvi's work, one Twitter user began accusing her of faking her disabilities. Aeyvi wrote about the experience on The Mighty, describing how she became increasingly irritated about the claims. She explained that she'd lived chronic illnesses since she was a teenager, and that in 2018 she "was mostly confined to one room and had to be cared for almost entirely." Aeyvi argued that she'd been attempting to combat judgmental attitudes online for years, and that ultimately the trolls would make her stronger.

Aeyvi continues to talk about her disabilities as she streams a variety of titles on her Twitch channel. She also works to try to educate others, partnering with charities like SpecialEffect, and provides support to others experiencing invisible disability. Hopefully her trolls learned a thing or two.

Lucanaii - hEDS

Lucanaii has built her reputation on streaming simulation games, keeping her growing community of viewers happy by bringing her cheery attitude to a variety of strategy and slice-of-life-based titles. As an adorable bonus, she also has three cats and a special cat-cam dedicated to showing their adventures.

On her website, Lucanaii explains that she has a hypermobile strain of EDS, which means that "some days are better than others, and streaming games can sometimes mean literal pain." Having hEDS affects the body's connective tissues, meaning that joints can hyperextend or dislocate, causing chronic pain and mobility issues. Ultimately, hEDS affects everyone differently, and it is seen as a spectrum disorder.

In an interview with StreamElements, Lucanaii shared how she started streaming after working as a community manager for a gaming company. She later had to quit because of her health, but found solace in an online community of streamers, who she eventually decided to join. Lucanaii explained that she didn't consider herself disabled for a long time, "mostly because of how it looks in movies." 

She said, "I thought you only need a wheelchair if you can't walk at all for example. It's one of the reasons why I didn't receive proper help for many years but also why I decided to be very open about my disability and raise awareness about how living with disability actually looks like." Now, Lucanaii helps others see that disability comes in all different forms, and there's no one specific way to stream successfully.

Brolylegs - Arthrogryposis

Mike Begum, who goes by Brolylegs on Twitch, was born with arthrogryposis, which affects the development of muscles and joints. Begum cannot walk or use his arms much, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming one of the best "Street Fighter" players in the world.

ESPN featured Begum in a profile back in 2019, interviewing the streamer and discussing his experiences in gaming. Begum told the news outlet about his tumultuous childhood, as well as how video games helped him bond with his father and brother. Eventually, Begum developed a method of playing games by using his face to manipulate the controller.

He practiced and became an expert at "Street Fighter," which — like many fighting games — requires a certain amount of dexterity and expert timing to master the daunting button combos. Because Begum cannot reach certain buttons, he became proficient in Chun-Li. As ESPN noted, Chun-Li's moveset doesn't explicitly require the use of those particular problem buttons, making her the perfect fit for Begum.

While he doesn't have a set streaming schedule on Twitch, Begum can typically be seen streaming favorites like the classic RPG "Earthbound" for his viewers.

Lo0p - HSAN

Lo0p, who mostly streams "Counter Strike: Global Offensive" on his Twitch channel, has one of the most moving stories in gaming. As a child, Lo0p was diagnosed with HSAN type 8, or hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy, a disorder that affects one's ability to feel pain.

In an AMA on Reddit discussing his condition, Lo0p explained that many of his medical problems stem from not realizing he had been hurt as a child. As Lo0p continued to scratch and pick at himself, he didn't know when to stop. About a year after his AMA, Lo0p made a short informative video about his condition, explaining that HSAN is extremely rare, even perhaps "one in a million." 

"I've read that only a couple hundred people worldwide have this disease," Lo0p said in the video. However, even though he's one of a relative handful of people with HSAN, Lo0p found a different sort of tight-knit community online through video games.

Lo0p told PCGamer that playing "Counter Strike" changed his life — literally. "If I didn't play this game, I wouldn't have had facial reconstruction," he explained. "[A 'CS:GO' player] just contacted me through my Twitch channel and was like 'Hey I want to fix your face, I have a friend who can do it.' I had my cleft palate fixed, I had my nose fixed, all from 'CS:GO.' It's crazy." Lo0P is a great example of how the gaming community can help others.

Sweet Anita - Tourette's Syndrome with coprolalia

Sweet Anita gained a massive following because of her dedication to streaming, but also because of her rare and sometimes surprising medical condition. 

According to a profile from Kotaku, which featured clips of an interview with Sweet Anita herself, the streamer has a rare type of Tourette Syndrome that includes coprolalia — quit literally, "poop talk." Those who experience coprolalia frequently have outbursts of profanity against their will, and while Tourette's isn't unheard of, coprolalia only affects about 10 percent of people with the condition. Anita has other tics as well, like whistling and making popping noises with her mouth, but her sudden streaks of curse words have actually surprised and delighted viewers, helping her grow her following.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that Anita also has a distinctive lilting voice with a British accent, or that she streams genuinely fun games and has a good rapport with her audience. Anita told Kotaku that she knows how she appears to viewers, saying, "​​I know it's silly to say — kitten — stupid things all the time. I know it seems really outlandish and strange ... It's fine to laugh, and I even laugh at myself. It'd be silly to expect everyone else not to." Anita has also told her followers directly that it's "absolutely okay" to laugh in response to her tics on stream.

In many ways, Sweet Anita is working to demystify Tourette Syndrome. Because her excessive profanity is part of a medical condition, Twitch hasn't banned her, and her fans hope that she continues to share her experiences for a long time to come.

ThatGeekAaron - epidermolysis bullosa

In 2019, streamer Syrmor helped ThatGeekAaron go viral by posting a video in which the young gamer shared his story. Aaron was born with epidermolysis bullosa, sometimes called "butterfly skin." EB causes one's skin to be very sensitive, blistering at the slightest touch. Needless to say, Aaron has had to be careful because of his condition and has experienced several complications from it. In the video from Syrmor, Aaron explained that he has to wear bandages over much of his body in addition to taking pain medication and being very careful when going outside. Still, he wants to show the world that one doesn't need to look like everyone else in order to be great at video games.

Aaron has scarring and wear on his hands, which make it difficult for him to hold a controller, but he's figured out a way to master "Fortnite" all the same: foot pedals. Aaron guided viewers through his gaming setup in an explanatory video on his YouTube channel, showing off the three cameras that he uses to stream. While Aaron has the standard face cam, he also has a hand cam and foot cam so viewers can see how he plays.

Unfortunately, Aaron has taken a break from streaming as he tries to adapt to changes in his personal life. His brother Jensen created a GoFundMe in 2021 so Aaron could find appropriate housing and escape what seems to be a difficult living situation. Aaron alleged that his father took the money he made from streaming and purposefully neglected him, and he has now begun the process of emancipating himself.

Puppers - ALS

Puppers, a Twitch and YouTube streamer, underwent a change before the eyes of his audience. Over time, viewers began to notice changes about the streamer — especially when it came to his voice (per Distractify). 

In November 2020, Puppers tweeted that he was tired of people commenting on how he talked. "My health is dropping and I have no idea why...," he said. "Just tired of it all." Not long after Puppers first began questioning the changes in his health, he let his fans know that he'd had a stroke and been diagnosed with ALS.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, affects neurons responsible for muscle movement, eventually making those affected unable to perform basic functions like eating or drinking. Although the condition is terminal, Puppers encourages others to have a positive outlook on life through his streams. Also, he's really great at "Dead By Daylight."

In addition to helping fans see their own lives more optimistically, Puppers has remarked to his Twitter followers that streaming has helped him to feel less alone, too.

GoodTimeswithScar - Neuromuscular Disease

GoodTimeswithScar has spent years building a positive fanbase who enjoy his appreciation of nerd culture and "Minecraft," and being diagnosed with an unspecified neuromuscular disease hasn't stopped him from continuing to interact with his community. 

In a Q&A on his YouTube channel, Scar talked openly about his condition, saying, "The disease weakens me, it weakens all the muscles, and when your muscles are weak, then you have other symptoms." Scar said that it also makes it difficult for him to breathe, because his diaphragm does not work as effectively. He also experiences gastrointestinal symptoms and uses a feeding tube to help him get nutrients. Additionally, he uses a wheelchair because of muscle weakness from his neuromuscular disorder.

In a 2018 vlog, Scar took fans through a day in his life, highlighting the routine he has to go through to get medicine and food through his direct port. "It's quite a process to get all this stuff done," he said as he replaced tubes on his port. Throughout it all, Scar sought to educate his fans and demystify his medical experience.

NoHandsNZ - Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa

NoHandsNZ is a whiz at "Apex Legends," regularly winning matches with a fantastic attitude. Oh, and he does it all without hands. Humphrey Hanley, who pokes fun at his condition with the nickname "NoHandsNZ," has dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. In an interview with HappyMag, Hanley said that he attempted to participate in sports and other conventional activities as a kid, but that got harder as he grew up. Despite this, he was still able to participate in the world and interact with others through his love of computers. Hanley explained that while technology has come a long way, consoles still have a ways to go. He did give a shoutout to Xbox's adaptive controller, saying he often uses it to play the console, and wished that PlayStation would create something similar.

When he's not playing video games or tinkering with computers, Hanley is an artist, using his keen eye for aesthetics to create gorgeous photographs and videos. He also sometimes works as a motivational speaker, telling his story and helping change the world of gaming.

Valkyrae - Aphantasia

Valkyrae, co-owner of 100 Thieves and queen of streaming video games, got honest about her rare condition, Aphantasia, which affects her ability to imagine objects. People with Aphantasia are typically unable to imagine objects in their mind's eye. While they can freely describe or imagine things, they cannot form a visual picture of them in their mind.

While talking with her friend and fellow streamer Yvonnie on a trip to Korea, Valkyrae explained her condition, saying that it has likely affected her ability to produce art through things like like drawing. Not being able to see what you'd like to draw in your head, she said, was a major hindrance.

Aphantasia is quite rare, only affecting 2-5% of the world, according to the American Psychological Association. Valkyrae said that the condition also affects her memory in some ways, because she has a difficult time remembering images and picturing them in her mind. That hasn't stopped her from streaming, though. Valkyrae has made history as one of the first women to co-own an esports organization, and regularly streams to over 3.5 million subscribers.

Ironmouse - Common Variable Immunodeficiency

Ironmouse is a VTuber with over a million subscribers on Twitch, and she frequently streams a variety of content, including karaoke sessions, "Minecraft" games, and honest reactions to previously recorded videos. The streamer also has a good reason for spending so much time online: she can't really go outside.

In May 2022, Ironmouse talked to streamer and psychiatrist Dr. K about her medical condition, Common Variable Immunodeficitieny (CVID), saying that she occasionally gets nervous talking about it because she wants to feel normal. She explained that her body doesn't create its own antibodies to battle illness, so she has to separate herself from others most of the time. Because she's extremely immunocompromised, she gets sick very easily, and she has developed other chronic conditions as a result of illnesses she's contracted.

"Growing up and becoming an adult, I noticed that a lot of people's experience was different to mine," Ironmouse said. She noted that she felt like it could be difficult to connect with others because she doesn't share many life experiences with others. Because of her different upbringing, Ironmouse said she felt different, and a bit embarrassed about her lack of certain experiences. However, VTubing has eliminated some of those challenges and feelings. She told Dr. K that when she streams through her avatar, her viewers aren't looking at her medical devices or appearance, and she felt they're ultimately more likely to focus on her personality and words.