I was really heart-warmed by a story on breakfast TV today…
At first I thought it was a simple promotional interview with the child of a famous Footballer who has been signed by a Model Agency aged 12. If anything my first thoughts were negative because (whilst as a parent I try not to be judgemental; goodness only knows it’s hard enough), to me that is just too young. However, it soon became apparent that actually there was much more to this story than meets the eye.
The young girl in question was born with a neurological disability. The very fact that she has been signed as a model at all is both progressive and uplifting; for an industry which is considered to be ruthless and shallow we need some more of this!
Isabella neville is the daughter of Phil and Julie Neville and was born with Cerebral Palsy. Her parents were told when she was 18 months old that she may never walk but against the odds, Isabella has broken boundaries throughout her life and has refused to accept the terms of her illness. She can now walk unaided and chooses to compete with her peers in sporting events and dance competitions – regardless of the setbacks her condition puts on her. A veritable all-rounder with a lust for life!
For seven years she had to use a walking frame and wore splints on her legs and yet today, the fresh-faced beauty has been signed by Source Model Agency and her parents want the world to know that regardless of the hand life deals you – you can encourage your children to follow their dreams.
I was particularly touched by Julie’s words on TV today when she described the day she found out her baby had this condition. She put her kids to bed as normal and fell asleep on the stairs where she had sat down to cry it out unseen… any woman who has a child will understand how awful it must be to be told that yours will never walk or lead a normal life yet Julie said she gave herself 24 hours to wallow and ‘feel sorry for herself’ then she turned it around and decided that she would encourage her daughter to be everything that she possibly could be and that life would go on as normal – no negativity just lots of love and support. I have a huge amount of respect for these parents.
I was really saddened to hear that Isabella receives some abuse on social media, a subject close to my heart this week, but whilst some may say we should protect our children from this by not putting them ‘out there’, I am starting to think it is something that we must prepare them for – as living a life online becomes a large part of our social fabric. It truly amazes me that ANYONE could find a negative word for such an amazing child regardless of their views on modelling or their particular parenting beliefs. I for one wish her every success in the world and want her parents to know I think they are fantastic.
We don’t say it enough.