Children modelling at All Abilities Fashion Show to break down disability stigma
Published Friday, October 19, 2018 8:32PM EDT
Twenty children with disabilities will be hitting the runway Saturday for the second annual All Abilities Fashion Show.
The show will be hosted by Living Life to the Maks, a clothing line founded by Melissa Petrilli and inspired by her son Maksim, who has Pfeiffer’s syndrome: a rare genetic disorder that affects the skull’s normal growth.
“I was looking for a way to bring my message out to more people, and really that’s about living life to the max,” Petrilli told CTV News Channel on Friday.
“My son Maks will by five New Year’s Day and he’s had challenges that are not typical, that most of his peers haven’t gone through,” Petrilli added. “A lot of hospital stays and surgeries and a lot of ups and downs -- but so many ups! And we choose to look on the bright side and just be very positive and celebrate all his milestones.”
The fashion show will be taking place at Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.
“At Holland Bloorview, one of the things we’re so passionate about is breaking down disability stigma and focusing on what kids can do, not what they can’t do,” hospital foundation president and CEO Sandra Hawken told CTV News Channel. “So, the kids are so excited and it’s a great opportunity for them to show just how cool they are while raising much-needed funds to support the programs at Holland Bloorview.”
All funds raised will support the hospital, Hawken added, “to help research and to help programs that help kids with disabilities reach their full potential and lead the fullest life possible.”
Living Life to the Maks is centered around t-shirts and patches emblazoned with positive messages like “kindness soldier,” “label me awesome” and “I’m not trying to blend in” in order to fuel acceptance for people with disabilities.
“It’s just so wonderful for them to be on stage and have everybody supporting them, celebrating all their milestones, no matter how small or large,” Petrilli said of Saturday’s fashion show. “It’s just a really wonderful day.”