THIS week, Edinburgh hairdressers, Charlie Miller, welcomed a very special client into its South St Andrew Street salon in the capital, for a very well-deserved afternoon of pampering.
Oona was born with cerebral palsy, a complex neurological condition which affects movement and co-ordination.
Her condition went unnoticed till the day she was born, when she arrived with severe deformities in both of her feet, with dislocated hips, and with no movement in her legs or her jaw.
Unable to open her mouth or swallow, she was fed by tube and ventilated, and spent ten weeks in NICU. Oona’s family were told to expect her to be unable to walk, talk, eat or ‘form thoughts’.
However, at six years-old, she is now an unstoppable force. Last year, parts of Oona’s feet and hamstrings became active for the first time. These were parts of her body her therapists and doctors believed to be permanently paralysed.
Oona now attends a mainstream school in the city and is signed to Zebedee Model Management. Among her many accolades, she has modelled for Marks & Spencer, and performed as a supporting actress in a BBC children’s drama.
Beaming with pride, her dad, Chris, reflected on Oona’s recent progress.
He said: “I think the fact that she is sassy helps her. From when she was a baby, she was determined to move against all odds.
“This year, in particular, especially throughout lockdown, she has made a huge amount of progress.
“We were able to purchase an inflatable spa for her, which she now uses every day, and we are already noticing huge differences in her movement just from spending time in the water.
“She sees it as fun and not strenuous exercise the way that other physio can be for her!”
Oona was delighted with her new look from salon stylist, Sophie Frame.
Oona said: “I really, really loved my hair going curly. The hairdryer wasn’t too loud, and Sophie was really nice. I feel so beautiful.”
Oona’s progress has been remarkable, but her condition still affects almost every aspect of her daily life.
Determined to help Oona continue to overcome her challenges and live life to the fullest, Oona’s family set up Little Red Wheelchair. Through their online presence, Oona’s family want to raise awareness and give hope to other families affected by this condition.
They are also fundraising via Tree of Hope, to raise funds to support Oona’s ongoing treatment and development. Their biggest fundraising goal is to purchase a ‘second skin’ suit to help her reach her ambition to walk unaided.
To find out more about Oona’s incredible journey, visit her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/littleredwheelchair
The link to Oona’s fundraising page on Tree of Hope is here: https://www.treeofhope.org.uk/one-small-step-oona/
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