Cara Brown, 4, was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, a genetic chromosome disorder which is also known as trisomy 21 that makes developmental and intellectual delays.
Her parents Meryn, 37, and Duncan, 40, both from Chesham, Buckinghamshire were left heartbroken after medics told them their daughter would be overwhelmed by lifelong medical conditions including heart problems.
They claim their 12-week scan had confirmed chances were low. But the little girl is defying the odds as she became a child model for catalogues and campaigns.
Her mother said: ‘The way the consultant broke the news to Duncan and I wasn’t good – he didn’t have a good bedside manner.
”He told us Cara had Down’s syndrome and then listed all the medical issues she could possibly have, such as heart and bowel problems. None of which she does, luckily.”
”They present it as a really negative thing and just talk about a lot of medical issues. When you’re just presented with a long list of problems that your child is going to have, it’s very scary and a terrifying thing to hear.”
”But Cara’s four-and-a-half now and I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that she would be fine and an amazing little girl,’ the mother continued.
”It’s important that adverts and the media reflect society as it really is, and it’s fantastic Cara is contributing towards a more inclusive picture of society and counteracting negative stereotypes of Down’s syndrome. She’s done so well and I’m so proud of her.”
The idea of modelling came to Meryn’s mind as she desired to battle the stereotype of the condition, showing children in a positive light. Cara has had her first photoshoot when she was two.
Since then the little girl has done paid work for clothing range Little Green Radicals, as well as starring in Downright Amazing’s campaigns. She has become a celebrity in her local area and her mother says Cara is recognised daily since she started modelling.
Meryn said: ”Cara loves seeing the photos of herself and she loves doing it because she just gets to play around in the garden having fun. She’s become really confident.”
”It’s been lovely to see how everything has come together. She’ll see a picture of herself in the supermarket and she’ll point it out. She’s always smiling and waving at everyone.”
”We were in an ice cream shop once and some children recognized her and it was really nice, she loved it.”
Cara’s condition is slower to reach her milestones but she is now walking, talking and making friends at nursery. She is also modelling for catalogues with her 20-month-old sister, Jessica, who doesn’t have the same condition.
Meryn said she and her husband received flak for Cara’s slower development from strangers.
She said: ”We were in a car dealership a couple of years ago and a couple pointed at Cara and said she was way too old to be crawling. They were quite embarrassed when I explained that she had Down’s syndrome.”
”She’s slower than typical kids her age but she’ll get to wherever she’s going to go. She has made a lot of progress, partly thanks to local charity called Sparkles, who provide speech therapy and physio.”
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