12 year old Katie Renshaw was born with life-long condition, Cerebral Palsy which effects her lower limbs. Her parents were told she might never walk. Confined to a wheel chair and enduring repeated surgeries, including a mammoth 9 hour surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, at the age of 7, Katie defied the doctors warnings.
Surgeons performed 10 procedures on both of her legs and with pure determination, intense physio and a contagious smile, Katie was able to walk with the help of a frame.
Since then she’s gone from strength to strength. Becoming an ambassador for Alder Hey, Katie’s confidence has soared in front of the camera. Joining Zebedee Management, an agency which represents diverse models, brands such as River Island and Matalan couldn’t wait to put Katie’s infectious smile and spirit, in the limelight.
Earlier this year Katie bravely took to the catwalk at London Fashion Week where her golden opportunity to head to New York came about. After strutting her stuff for the cameras, Katie caught the eye of a designer, who was so inspired by her look, has now invited her to wow the crowds stateside this September.
Katie’s mum, Clare said: “It’s been a real whirlwind. I’ve been a nervous wreck with the likes of Sky and the BBC turning up with all kinds of cameras in my kitchen. We can’t thank the staff at Alder Hey enough, we wouldn’t be here without them.
“Although Katie suffers with sore muscles, joints and is often physically tired due to her cerebral palsy, she doesn’t let it keep her down. She loves make up and with her experience of makes overs, she’s a real pro with highlighter.
It’s been 4 years since the first ever disabled models took to the New York Fashion Week runway. American Horror Story actress, Jamie Brewer who has Downs Syndrome, quoted as saying; “We’re role models, not just runway models.”
This is an ethos 12-year-old Katie is keen to promote, she said: “It makes me feel really happy that everybody with disabilities and stuff can do the same and we can prove people wrong.”
Katie is already inspiring other youngsters as her London Fashion Week appearance received letters of thanks and praise from other parents of disabled children.
To see Katie’s dream come true, her family now need to raise £4,000 to cover the costs of flights & accommodation in NYC. Pulling out all the stops Katie, has gotten stuck in with fundraising ideas at school and has organised a non-uniform day and even got support from two male members of staff who’ve agreed to have their legs waxed for donations.
Clare said: “To see Katie walk down the catwalk in New York will make me very emotional and so, so proud.”
To make a donation towards Katie’s trip of a life time to New York Fashion Week, head to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/katie-renshaw or click here. You can also follow Katie’s journey on Twitter by following @katierenshaw.model.zeb .
We’re hoping the whole city comes out to support Katie and we can’t wait to see that winning smile on the catwalk in NYC later this year.
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