There are a few things that you might notice when you first meet Molly. Her butterfly adorned wheelchair. The fact that her speech is limited and her motor skills are wobbly. Nowadays you'll probably notice Scarlett, her black labrador companion dog from Dogs for Kids with Disabilities. But the number one thing that you will notice without fail is that Molly has a smile that will part the clouds of the gloomiest day.
Molly has a rare neurological disorder known as Rett Syndrome, which is found almost exclusively in females.
"It means that she is intellectually disabled, has poor motor skills, limited speak, poor sleeping patterns and epilepsy amongst other things. Despite her issues she is a happy girl who just loves company. You'll always get a smile from Molly and she always appreciates the attention.
Retts girls are known as Rett Angels and if you are ever lucky enough to meet Molly, you'll know why. She'd be happy to meet you on the day, that's for sure!"
(~ from Molly's parents, Tracy and Donald).
Earlier in 2013, Molly's family held a fundraiser to acquire and train a disability companion dog for their girl. That's how Molly met Scarlett. Scarlett gives Molly the ability to have the constant attention that she needs, helps her sleep, gives her independence in play and gives the rest of her family some respite to the constant care she requires.
I travelled to Geelong to meet Molly and her wonderful parents. We sat on the dry grass, sunshine warming the backs of our necks while Tracy and Donald told me all about their family and their beautiful girl. Molly laughed gleefully looking at her own photos on the back of the camera and munching on bright pink marshmallows, while Scarlett leaned softly against her.
Thank you Tracy, Donald and Molly for letting me into your home and life for one gorgeous, sunny afternoon. I am honoured to have met you and thrilled to have photographed both of your girls, whose beauty and love is the sort that inspires me every morning.
Did you enjoy Molly's Story? Click here to see more photographs from my Dogs for Kids with Disabilities sessions or click here to purchase the 2014 DKD Calendar (photographed by yours truly!)