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When I first wrote to JoJo Maman Bébé about the possibility of my daughter, Elodie, modelling for them I didn’t know if I would hear back, in fact I hardly dared hope. So I was delighted when I had an email from Alice inviting her to be part of their Autumn/Winter 2014 photoshoot.
It meant so much to me as from the time when my daughter, Elodie, was a tiny baby my thoughts have often drifted to her future and what it is likely to be like. I have found myself frequently imagining what is possible for her.
On 26th September 2011 we were presented with the most beautiful baby imaginable; tiny but alert and immediately curious about the world. She was the most perfect addition to our family.
Except that she wasn’t quite perfect by the usual standards… Elodie was born with a condition called Fibular Hemimelia, where her fibula bone in her right leg did not grow along with the associated leg bones. Her ankle joint was not correctly formed, her little foot was missing two toes, plus her leg was considerably shorter than the other.
After several long weeks and medical appointments we knew that the only real treatment for her severe case of the condition would be amputation of her foot before her first birthday after which she would require a prosthetic leg. This information challenged us in ways we could never have imagined.
Following her surgery at 10½ months Elodie continued her stoic approach to life and recovered incredibly quickly. She was fitted for her prosthetic leg three weeks later and had her new leg by her first birthday. She was walking at 19 months, running by 20 months and when her baby brother, Oliver, was born six weeks later she was ready to lead the way and it was clear that nothing was going to stop her- she does ballet, horse riding and loves to socialise.
During the few days of the JoJo shoot Elodie had a great time. The gorgeous setting of East Sussex in January made for a beautiful background for the shoot and Alice and the team made it so nice to be part of for both the children and their parents. They and the photographer were incredibly kind and patient with the children, especially as two and three year olds don’t always toe the line!
Elodie loved wearing the different clothes and playing with the props which were part of the shoot. She particularly enjoyed the session where she had to paint on a big easel with her favourite colour green. How she managed not to get any on the beautiful clothes I will never know! She also loved the flowery suitcase she had to hold in some of the photos and we had to prise it off her at the end…
Whilst Elodie certainly enjoyed being part of the JoJo photoshoot and delighted in seeing herself in the catalogues and website, it has to be said that my husband and I derived the most pleasure from seeing her being part of it. During the time after she was born and leading up to her surgery some of the most important friends we made were those parents and children who were further along the line than us following amputation. For us seeing the amazing things these children were capable of and how ‘normal’ they were gave us enormous hope for the future for our little girl. We were supported through the fantastic Steps Charity and connected with many of these people through them. By sharing what Elodie has done with friends and the wider public I hope that she will also help others in our position to highlight what these special children can achieve.
We are so grateful to JoJo Maman Bébé for giving Elodie the opportunity to do something wonderful and we are so proud of our amazing little girl. Thank you.