Magen Ferland, winner of the 2012 Memorial Princess session grand prize!
Magen was actually nominated twice.. once by her grandmother and once by her mother! Here’s the first one.
Her nominator writes “I would like to nominate my granddaughter, Magen Ferland. She has severe developmental delays. But, her greatest thrill is being a princess.
At birth there was no indications that any thing was wrong. But, after bringing her home feeding her became a nightmare. After a couple months she was diagnosed as failure to thrive. A few weeks later we took her to Scottish Rite after a particular rough bout of vomiting. The ER doctor admitted her and promised to find out what was wrong. She was but on a feeding tube and underwent numerous tests. The doctors could not tell us initially whether we would be taking her home. But, she made it and tests revealed that she had a chromosomal deletion.
Feeding her was a challenge to say the least. But, she still not did progress as she should. She has had many challenges learning to do what a typical child would do. She has endured so many therapies, feeding, speech, physical therapy and so on. She eventually had a button for feeding inserted into her stomach from which she still obtains most of her nutrition. Although she can walk, due to sensory issues she will not walk in public and is in a wheelchair.
Many of her behaviors most resemble a child with autism. She does not speak, but uses sign language to communicate. She has made up some of her own signs and also uses other forms of communications such as looks, etc. For those who spend anything around her it is becomes second nature to read her moods, thoughts, wishes. Magen also has some behavioral practices that can certainly let one know when she is displeased.
Magen attends ESP, an organization that provides activities for children and young adults with developmental delays. She is one of the most limited participant. But, the other participants and counselors all love Magen. She has a smile that will brighten one’s day. Through this program she finally has friends, and a best friend.
Magen has touched many people in Athens. When she is out and about in Athens it is always amazing at how many people know her and come up to speak to her. She becomes the belle of the ball at weddings.
Magen’s most favorite thing in the whole world is princesses. She has all the movies. This year for her 9th birthday party we did a princess theme from the movies. She was absolutely in heaven. She has a collection of “princess” dresses that she loves to wear, sometimes 2 at a time. Magen also loves to have her picture taken. Point a camera at her and see her smile.
It would take a book to write all of the challenges Magen has faced in her life. All the treatments, therapies, surgeries and most importantly not being able to do what many other kids do. Being dressed up as a princess and having her picture taken in a photo shot would be a highlight in her life.
The photos you have done of other children with disabilities are just amazing. I so hope you consider Magen for this year’s contest.”
Magen’s mother’s letter is even more informative and the family has gone through so much. I’ve seen Magen at the Big Hearts Pageant every year when we photograph it. She’s such a special child, she really does have a cloud of brightness around her everywhere she goes.
Session is scheduled, will follow with the photos and her mom’s story after her session! I can’t wait to meet her further!