LODI, Ohio — Meghan Cawley has a beaming smile, and after a recent walk down a Hollywood runway, she’s now strutting around with purpose.
You can add his latest achievement to a growing list of things some doctors never thought possible.
“When Meghan was born, before she was born, they told us that she would probably never walk or talk and that she would have a very poor quality of life,” her mother, Sarah Cawley, said. “One thing she’s blessed with is a lot of confidence. There’s no shortage of confidence there.”
Meghan has multiple disabilities including congenital hydrocephalus, epilepsy and severe scoliosis. She is also deaf in one ear.
But the 10-year-old fourth grader at Cloverleaf Elementary School in Lodi is coping with her health challenges with grace and determination.
She likes to sing, dance, do adapted skiing and tinker.
But modeling is her latest passion after attending a Runway of Dreams Foundations event in Hollywood.
Wearing pink sunglasses, a skirt with yellow smileys on it and matching shoes, Meghan happily walked down the runway, turned around and waved.
“It was an amazing experience. It was breathtaking,” she said. “When I walked down the track, the crowd cheered loudly, really loudly.”
The moment was precious and meaningful for Sarah Cawley.
“It’s a completely surreal experience to see your child shine because of their disability and not just in spite of it,” she said. “It makes it all the more meaningful to see her achieve something we never thought possible and to show others that this is something people with disabilities can do.”
The Runway of Dreams Foundation, founded by Mindy Scheier, the mother of a young adult with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, is a non-profit organization working towards a future of inclusion, acceptance and opportunity. in the fashion industry for people with disabilities.
On her runway, Meghan represented Zappos and wore shoes that featured a special zipper that travels from the top all the way around.
“It also has extra space to support braces or ankle braces for kids who might need them for walking,” Sarah Cawley said.
Meghan is receiving treatment for some of her health issues at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Pediatric neurologist Dr Ian Rossman believes the trip to Hollywood gave Meghan a chance to shine.
“I’m so proud of Meghan and her family for taking this unique opportunity,” he said. “Meghan didn’t just model shoes, she embodied the value of including children with special needs in all activities that make childhood fun and rewarding.”
Later this year, the family plans to meet with doctors in New York for spinal surgery to protect her from the possibility of paralysis in the future.
Meghan said it would be “a big operation”, but for now she is still delighted with her big night and thinks of becoming a professional model one day.
“It was really cool,” she said.
Sarah Cawley certainly won’t doubt Meghan after witnessing all she has achieved in ten years.
“Meghan was pretty much born to be on stage, so we’re going to keep giving her every chance to shine.”