Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Meet The Human Mannequin: Louise Wedderburn...

It's a month ago now that The Human Mannequin aired on Channel 4. I sat watching it, absolutely transfixed. By not only Louise Wedderburn's beauty but her determination, her positivity and, yes, her courage.

For Louise lives with one of the rarest genetic conditions known to medical science: Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. A disease that causes fibrous connective tissue in the body (tendons, muscles, ligaments) to ossify - turn into bone- when it becomes damaged. This means that any knock or fall will result in the painful growth of new bone.

There have been 700 confirmed cases of FOP across the globe, with just 45 confirmed in the UK. The condition affects 1 in 2 million people and there is no known cure.

As soon as the programme had finished I took to Twitter and typed in her name. I felt an overwhelming need to tell this brave and inspirational young woman how blown away I'd been.

As did thousands of other well wishers, clearly, as within days her Twitter followers had risen to over 11,000.

Images courtesy of Elle UK

We all grumble, we all have a little moan now and again, but Louise just seemed to get on with it. Life may have dealt her a cruel hand but she wasn't going to let FOP get in the way of her aspirations of working in the fashion industry. She's already made a name for herself at Elle, having worked there as an intern, and has garnered much attention for her seemingly effortless style.

Having struck up something of a friendship with Louise via Twitter in the last month - we've bonded over a shared obsession with Christmas and all things beauty, truly a girl after my own heart! - I've been utterly charmed by her humility and generosity of spirit.

A cure really needs to be found for this debilitating disease so that Louise, and people like her, can continue to shine and live their lives to the fullest. 

Oxford University leads the way in FOP research in the UK, and Louise has set up a fundraising target of £60,000 to help boost their work. Yes, you know the drill people, if you have anything to spare, anything at all, please do give generously to this most vital of causes.

You can dontate here. If you can, please do; think of it as your  little bit of 'goodwill' to all mankind, this Christmastime. And, again, please, please, please spread the word. Hire an aeroplane and sky write it if you feel so inclined, just get it out there...

Also, be sure to keep an eye out for Louise's fashion blog and style consultation service: Peaches and Rose, launching shortly. You can also catch her over at The Baking Fashionista or on Twitter.

Louise is a truly one of a kind human being, someone we could all learn so much from and, like Katie Huttlestone, a total utter inspiration.

Oh, and did I mention she also has an absolutely killer wardrobe?



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