Olivia’s mother writes “I’d like to nominate my daughter, Olivia. Liv is 10 and has aspergers but that isn’t why I’m nominating her. She was born with a hemi-vertebra in her neck. The left side of one of her cervical vertebra didn’t form. Instead it formed as a wedge shaped bone between two of her thoracic vertebrae. This caused scoliosis, for which she has had multiple surgeries. In 2015, she had a spinal fusion (the first of her surgeries) but her curve began to form above and below the fusion. In September 2016, she had her most recent surgery. She had MAGEC growing rods put in so that her spine can be straightened as she grows without new rods twice a year. She has endured pain like I can’t imagine. She had to wear a back brace, for which she was badly bullied (We had to switch schools when they got physical). Despite her own medical difficulties, Olivia still helps take care of her severely disabled 16 year old sister. She even asked if she could move into the room with her sister so she can be with her at night. Olivia has a difficult time making friends but has started to understand social cues a bit better. As a result, she is becoming more confident in herself. But her back scars are still bringing down her self esteem. Her MAGEC rods are visible under her skin because she is so thin and she is very self conscious about them. I would love to see her win this so she can feel as beautiful as we keep telling her she is!”
Heather says: This shoot was simple magical. Knowing she has Aspergers, I expected her to be a little shy at first, to hang back and watch for social cues. Nope. Not this kid! Olivia popped out the the car like a daisy and shouted “Hi Miss Heather!” and held out her hand to shake like an adult. We spent the entire night talking about other people I know with aspergers, another fairy I’ve met with scoliosis, and how much bullies suck and how they should be laughed at so they know how it feels too. Olivia is very self conscious about her back and her scar. I asked her if the wanted photos of it and she declined at first. I told her the other fairy I met with scoliosis says that she’s proud of hers and calls it a ‘battle scar’.. and Olivia replied “You know… she has a good point!” Maybe another little girl has helped her on her path to healing, because at the end of the shoot she did agree to photos of her back.